During this wonderful holiday season, Americans generally take a moment to reflect on the past year and count their blessings. Online poker players in Nevada, as well as travelers to The Silver State, can be thankful that Nevada was the first state to pass online poker legislation in the United States this year. Delaware is the only other state to follow up on the United States Department of Justice allowance that each individual state choose their online poker destiny, but it appears Nevada is the clear front runner to officially shuffle up and deal online with the legal blessing of the United States government. Currently 12 operators have been approved for online interactive gaming licenses in Nevada, but the list of applicants continues to grow.
Is the possible passage of gambling laws in the United States more favorable or less favorable now that Congress is in a lame-duck session? With the inability of Congress to agree on just about anything, it is hard to envision any situation that would guarantee a clear-cut legislative victory which would allow Internet gambling in the United States. But whether you voted for him or not, Obama’s reelection actually speaks volumes for the possibilities of getting some nationwide gambling laws passed before Congress reconvenes in 2013, possibly in 2012.
Gambling industry analysts expect the United States online gambling marketplace to reach $10 billion in annual sales as early as 2017. That estimate comes in spite of the fact that no state in the US has yet to actually offer any form of legalized online gambling since the Department of Justice changed their stance on the legalities of gambling online. Nevada and Delaware have each legalized online poker and a full slate of online gambling offerings respectively since that the DOJ flip-flop, but both states are still in the approval and licensing process currently. But that has not stopped major US casino operations from rushing to understand and fully embrace Internet gaming.
Sometime in the next couple of months, the Reno based software developer 3G Studios will debut their online poker site. They recently launched their SlotALot.com online slots room, and just became the first video game company to apply for an online poker license in the United States. And until Nevada works out all the kinks in their online poker infrastructure, the up-and-coming software and video game developer will have to be happy with allowing players to gamble with free tokens. But that is still an incredibly lucrative undertaking, as virtual gambling with fake money or tokens created $2.4 billion in 2011.
As reported by the Las Vegas Review Journal (LVRJ) online this week, the details of a proposed national online gaming and gambling bill are now a matter of public record. While the bill has been tweaked and reworked on several occasions to garner more support, this is the first time that bill specifics have been released. LVRJ reporter Steve Tetreault first revealed the release of the bill’s outlines on the 14th, and recently updated the information on Monday, 17 September. Several key senators have attempted to reshape online wagering by legalizing poker over the Internet but outlawing most other forms of Internet gambling. That is the summation of the details that were “leaked” to the World Wide Web in the four-page document that spell out important details of the current bill.
Online poker and other forms of gambling were illegal in the United States in 2011. Similar laws were in force in multiple European and Asian countries around the world as well, yet Hollywood movies are promoted, shipped to, and viewed in every corner of the globe. And yet even so, Hollywood barely matched a mere 20% of the amount of income created by online wagering and gambling in 2011 in South America alone. Hollywood movies grossed a little under $26 billion worldwide in 2011, but online gaming in poker rooms, casinos, bingo halls and sportsbooks in just South America totaled more than $124 billion.
With Delaware and Nevada both now preparing to offer online poker legally for the first time in the United States, companies are lining up to try to get a piece of the billion-dollar online gambling pie. 3G Studios is one such game developer based in Reno, Nevada and they are betting heavily that online gambling will be more than a passing fancy in the United States and abroad. They are a privately held company who recently hired more than 75 contractors in China and India, and stateside they have 47 US employees.
The 11 members of the Nevada Gaming Policy Committee are headed by that state’s Governor, Brian Sandoval. On Wednesday, July 25 they will meet for a special session in Las Vegas, Nevada to discuss proposed recommendations for future legislative sessions concerning their online poker policy. Nevada was the first state to pass legalized online poker play within its state boundaries for its residents and visitors after the United States Department of Justice passed that responsibility on to the state level in late 2011. The committee has frequently stated that their intent is to keep Nevada at the front of the online poker industry in the US, positioning that state as a leader both financially and technically.
On December 23 of last year, the United States Department of Justice reversed their long standing position on the legality of online poker in the United States. Considering any online gaming for money in the past as illegal, just two days before Christmas of 2011 the US DOJ delivered a holiday present of their new ruling that allows each individual state to develop and regulate their own online poker policy. Nevada has long been the cornerstone of gambling in the United States, and they quickly passed legislation allowing legalized online poker play for their residents and visitors, the first state to do so.
Nevada made history earlier this year in the United States as the first state to legalize playing online poker for money within their state boundaries. Residents and visitors to the Silver State will be able to shuffle up and deal virtually for the first time since the United States Department of Justice mandated in December of last year that online gambling should be regulated by each individual state. But Delaware trumped Nevada with their legislation signed Thursday by Governor Jack Markell that approved not only poker, but all online casino gambling within that state’s borders.