While Nevada online poker is already a legal reality, the first hand of online poker has yet to be played in the Silver State. Major casino companies in Nevada are obviously ecstatic that their state was the first to adopt online poker legislation in the US, but they point out that the size of the player pool in Nevada, while nice, is just not big enough to make many of their efforts worthwhile in the online poker world. They point out that a federal bill legislating and regulating activity on a nationwide basis would be the goose that lays the golden eggs.
The legislation passed in Nevada allows all travelers, tourists and residents to legally participate in online poker play offered by Nevada companies online while inside that state’s boundaries. As you probably know, this came in the face of the reversal last December of the United States Department of Justice opinion concerning the legality of online poker play in the United States. After years of mandating all US online gambling illegal, on December 23 of last year’s holiday season, the DOJ gave an early Christmas present to prospective US online poker players when they ruled that each individual state in the US should be allowed to dictate their own online poker stance.
Nevada was quickly the first state to pass online poker legislation, followed last month by Delaware, who also added a comprehensive DE online casino gaming provision. However, the American Gaming Association is still pushing forward in their hopes to get federal passage of some type of Internet poker legislation. The AGA is the gaming industry’s top lobbying group, and they met recently in Las Vegas, Nevada where President Frank Fahrenkopf delivered a presentation to the Nevada Gaming Policy Committee concerning the state of federal online poker legislation.
In addressing the 11 member panel which included Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, Fahrenkopf pointed out that while the U.S. Congress “is dysfunctional”, they still retain the authority to grant or deny any state to state partnership deal concerning online poker. He also pointed out that individually each state may have problems finding companies willing to pay for the development and management of the online infrastructure necessary to offer online poker, depending on the size of the player pool offered by that state.
However, more than 30 separate on and off-line casino and gaming related institutions have applied for online poker interactive gaming licenses in Nevada already. And the adoption of legal online poker play in California would obviously be a boon for next-door neighbor Nevada, as it would benefit from the massive player pool California’s large population would provide. Lobbyists like Fahrenkopf will continue to push for a single federal declaration of online poker legislation, but in the meantime individual states like Nevada and Delaware are moving quickly to provide some type of online poker play to their residents and visitors as soon as possible, in the hopes of becoming the first US state to virtually shuffle up and deal.