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.
If you have ever been to Las Vegas and enjoyed the incredible nightlife, world-class dining, five-star entertainment and casino style gambling, you probably are familiar with names like the Hard Rock Hotel and Treasure Island. Those casinos are synonymous with Las Vegas style casino gaming, and just last week they both applied for online poker licenses. With the increasing number of companies applying for virtual poker licenses, the online poker picture in Nevada may very soon become as crowded as the Las Vegas strip. MGM Resorts International and the Golden Nugget are two casino properties who have already been approved for online interactive gaming poker licenses in Nevada, and they could have competition from two other big-name brick-and-mortar casino operators if the Hard Rock and Treasure Island become approved as well.
The provision in Nevada for online poker exists only for residents and visitors located inside the state’s boundaries. There is no denying that online poker in the United States is currently a multibillion dollar industry, with US players currently frequenting non-US internet casinos and poker rooms located offshore. With the current economic climate throughout the United States, individual states like Nevada are looking to cash in on that billion-dollar industry and keep their players’ money in-state. BREF Interactive Gaming, LLC is one of the subsidiaries of Brookfield Real Estate Financial, which is the parent company of Hard Rock. They submitted the application on the behalf of the hotel chain, since Brookfield is already in the process of securing their own online poker software from several independent software providers.
Another recent applicant for a Nevada online interactive gaming licenses was Switch Communications Group, which has applied to operate a hosting center. This is basically a physical location that holds the hardware and computer networks that will run the online poker software for individual companies which are awarded online poker licenses. They would then simply rent out their hosting center servers to those Nevada approved online poker companies. In the recent past, brick-and-mortar casino companies with a reputable history of providing high-class Las Vegas style entertainment have been approved rather rapidly for licenses, and the early word is that Treasure Island and Hard Rock will also receive rubberstamp approval, bringing the total number of online interactive gaming license holders in Nevada to 14.
Just which company will get their ducks in a row quickest and deliver online poker in Nevada before the competition is not a sure bet. South Point Poker was thought to be the front runner, but the company’s debut online has been postponed due to internal delays and negotiation with Nevada regulators concerning testing. The good news is that Nevada online poker players, and pro-poker proponents visiting that state, receive more qualified applicants every week that are ready to offer online poker in The Silver State.