When matters of huge financial opportunity are involved, it never takes the United States long to see some of its entrepreneurs cashing in as quickly as possible. Such is evidently the case with Nevada since the US Department of Justice reversed their opinion on the legality of online poker play for pay. The DOJ stance has for years been that all forms of online poker play for money were illegal in the United States, but last December they decided to allow each individual state to legalize, regulate and police their own online poker play product. Nevada rapidly move forward with legislation, and became the first state to legalize online poker play for its residents and any tourists vacationing there.
Obviously, legislation passage is not enough to deliver an online poker experience to Nevada residents. Websites must be built, licenses must be sold, and banking laws and other regulations must be met. However, just last month Nevada announced that the first online poker licenses in that state would be up up for sale in 30 to 60 days, and they recently gave a much more specific time-line for actual Nevada poker play online under the new statutes. Nevada Gaming Control Board Chairman Mark Lipparelli stated that the Silver State would probably see the first legal US-based real money poker sites up and running by the 2012 holiday season.
That announcement came during the most recent Gaming Policy Committee meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Lipparelli added that the majority of that time would be spent in regulating and approving the proposed technology companies want to use once they pay their licensing fees. While California, Illinois and New Jersey are pushing hard to pass legislation that would allow for legal online poker play, Nevada remains the only current location where online poker play on an American owned poker site is legally allowed.
Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval listened on as multiple online and off-line casino executives and industry experts weighed in on their opinions as to the state of the online poker union in the United States. Bwin.party CEO Jim Ryan, in a response to concerns about underage gambling, pointed out that only 10 cases of underage players sneaking through his companies security were found out of a traffic level of over 1 million unique users per month. Bwin.party Digital Entertainment is one of the top online casino and him gaming providers in the world, and the largest listed on a national stock exchange.
MGM Resorts recently reached an agreement with Bwin.party to provide online poker play in Nevada and other locations, and CEO Jim Murren was in attendance at the meeting as well. The fact that the United States government has passed the decision-making, legislation and regulation process for legalized online poker play to individual states has allowed Nevada to become the first state to position themselves to financially benefit from what appears to be a multibillion dollar industry in the near future. And with legal online poker play as close as six months away, the holiday season this year could be a bright and profitable one for the state of Nevada’s online poker players, as well as those companies who are first to market an enjoyable and safe online poker room there.