On the West Coast of the United States, you can find a poker game pretty much anywhere. From the myriad of poker rooms that populate California to the continued boom of new establishments in Las Vegas and the rest of the Western United States, poker is the game that everyone wants to play. When it comes to the East Coast, however, poker has its share of ups and downs.
Recently the World Poker Tour-branded room at Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut was unveiled during the latest WPT tournament stop on their schedule. The "WPT World Poker Room at Foxwoods" was unleashed at the start of the WPT Foxwoods Poker Classic in April and, by all accounts, has been well received at the largest casino in the world. The tables were not only increased from around seventy to over 110 tables, but the amenities for the players have led to great reviews of the new surroundings. It seems as well that other areas of the East Coast could experience an upswing in rooms in the near future.
For those that can't reach the Northeast corner of the U. S., Atlantic City is a great option. The "Las Vegas of the East" has a long history as an outlet for poker and it seems that there are ideas for more growth in that market. Hard Rock International, the ownership group behind the chain of Hard Rock Hotel and Casinos across the United States, is looking at the possibility of striking into the lucrative New Jersey shore with their own facilities there.
Hard Rock International is looking to become the thirteenth casino in Atlantic City and are prepared to spend $1 billion to make this possibility a reality. A location has already been selected for the potential property on the south end of the Atlantic City "strip" and many look at the Hard Rock's move having much the same effect that the Borgata casino had on the New Jersey gaming scene when it was built in the 1990's. The reason for the Hard Rock's move is an obvious one. The Atlantic City market is definitely a lucrative one, as the casinos located there earned over $5 billion in revenues in 2005. At the earliest, the new Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City would open in 2009.
While these reports of the upside of the poker boom are excellent, the news isn't quite as great in other areas of the East Coast. In North Carolina, there is no live (often called "Las Vegas" style) gaming and the only possible action is at the Indian-owned and operated Harrah's Cherokee Casino, located just outside of Charlotte. The operation, lacking the "live" gaming, has been using video machines to run their operation. With the continued success of poker, the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians (who run Harrah's Cherokee North Carolina) have been interested in opening up their operation to include live action at the site.
This isn't going to happen anytime soon. Talks between the tribe and the Governor of North Carolina, Mike Easley, broke down earlier this week. The major point of contention seems to be how the state and the tribe would break down the increase of revenue between the two entities. These talks have been going on for over a year and signal that, for now, the possibility of live poker in North Carolina isn't going to happen.
The Cherokee leaders were looking to make a full blown enterprise out of the Harrah's property, rather than an outlet for video players. They were ready to increase the size of the site by opening up a second casino but, with the breakdown of talks, this has been put on hold. The live gaming would have also had a significant impact on the economy of the state as well, as over 400 jobs with over a $15 million payroll would have been created in a state that has seen thousands of jobs in the textile and tobacco industries either completely disappear from existence or end up at less expensive overseas markets. The significance for the state's coffers to be expanded from the additional tax revenues has also been overlooked by North Carolina leadership.
As you can see, poker and gaming on the East Coast has a good news/bad news situation going on. It can only be hoped that eventually we'll catch up with what is going on west of the Mississippi River and then we won't have to head to other locations to play poker.
Ed Note: No matter what state you live in - play anytime you want at Party Poker