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California and Nevada – Likely Online Poker Partners?

Seeking to enhance the attractiveness of possible legalized gambling in the eyes of the federal government, many US states are exploring partnering up in their online poker legalization efforts. One of the states that will probably not go in that direction is California, who along with Nevada and New Jersey have recently been at the forefront of serious and concerted attempts to offer legalized gambling to their citizens. With more than 37 million people, sharing her player pool with another state would be close to a one-way partnership. 

As reported by online poker news site CardPlayer, an unnamed source with intimate knowledge of California’s online poker legalization efforts says that at the current time a partnership with nearby Nevada would be out of the question. The source also stated that California has not approached Nevada concerning an online poker marriage, nor has Nevada contacted California. The 37 million member possible Californian player pool would be rather attractive to smaller states if legalized gambling does indeed become a reality.

Nevada certainly doesn’t feel the same way, however. Last month at the recent iGaming North America Conference, the chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission Peter Bernhard said he believes that “it is crucial for Nevada to have (online poker) partnerships with other states”. No doubt he is referring to the fact that Nevada has only 2.7 million residents and 4 million visitors each month, according to data supplied by the Nevada Resort Association.

In December of 2011, the Department of Justice ruled that the Wire Act does not apply to lottery tickets sold across state lines, and many in the gaming community believe this leaves the door open for intrastate online poker alliances and partnerships. And while the Nevada Gaming Commission is undoubtedly the most influential ruling body covering any individual state’s gambling concerns, with no intent to run afoul of Federal law and banking statutes, getting legal online poker in their state is running slower than they had hoped.

The fact that conversations concerning legalized online poker in the United States are ongoing, and more plentiful every day, is a good sign for the prospective US poker player. And when Black Friday hit just over a year ago, shutting down the three largest US online poker sites and virtually wiping out legalized online US play, no individual players were charged with a single offense. However, many of those account holders never received any of their money back, and parties on both sides of the poker table are still taking returning to online poker rather slowly. However, with states like California, New Jersey and Nevada forcing the issue, legalized online poker in the United States is much closer to a reality than it was only a year ago.

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