Americans love winners. Need proof? Ask anybody who won last year’s Super Bowl, and even the casual sports fan will tell you the New York Giants. But even though last year’s game broke the record for total number of US viewers, with over 111 million Americans watching game, which makes it the most viewed television broadcast of any kind in American history, most people forget who came in second. Can’t remember? The New England Patriots came in second place in what is regarded as one of the most important sporting contests held annually, and by next year’s game, no one will remember them.
Why are we talking football on a site that is dedicated to bringing you the latest breaking news stories in the US online gambling community at the state level? Just to prove a point. Thursday, June 21 officially marked the first full day of summer in the United States, and is probably a date that two particular Nevada-based companies will mark annually with a day off for employees, or at least a party. Ever since legislation was passed legalizing online poker play in Nevada, Internet gamers in the Silver State have been salivating, and waiting for the announcement that companies are actually licensed and ready to move forward to offer some type of online poker play. That announcement has finally come.
International Game Technology (stock ticker symbol IGT) is based in Reno Nevada, and Bally Technologies Incorporated (BYI) has its home in the gambling center of North America, Las Vegas. Both those companies received approvals Thursday from the Nevada Gaming Commission to be the recipients of the first two Internet Gaming licenses sold in that state since the United States Department of Justice legalized online poker play, allowing it to be regulated at the state level.
Being first in many things simply means you are the first in line, and in that regard, both IGT and Bally were smart to get their applications in an soon as Nevada passed legislation allowing online poker play for their residents and visitors. Certainly, having a long-standing tradition with business partners in Nevada, and having their headquarters in the state with the most casino revenue didn’t hurt their chances either. But in this particular case, in what is estimated quite conservatively at a $10 to $15 billion market in the United States, the importance and possible financial rewards of positioning themselves as the leaders in online poker play in the US at this early stage cannot be overstated.
For Nevada poker players this is the first huge step that would finally allow them to play poker for money legally from home, in the workplace (if they don’t get caught), while commuting or anywhere they can fire up their laptop, tablet or smartphone. And it just makes sense that two companies involved in the casino industry for so many years would have the first chance to pave the way smoothly for a transition into the online poker world. The Nevada Gaming Commission realizes that the entire United States poker world, legislators in all 50 states, and gaming hardware and software companies of all kinds are watching their every move. If they can nail these early online poker steps successfully, they can expect to be flooded with new jobs for the residents of Nevada, as well as a virtually limitless stream of money from licensing fees.
Caesars Entertainment Corporation (CCR), MGM Resorts International (MGM) and approximately two dozen other Internet gaming license applicants will eventually be among the second wave of license holders approved, but this is America, so who really cares? Kudos to Bally and IGT, you are #1 and always will be in this uncharted online gaming venture, and congratulations to all the poker lovers who reside in Nevada or plan on traveling there in the future. Get ready to shuffle up and deal!