You probably have heard by now that Nevada became the first state to legalize online poker within its boundaries for its residents and visitors. And while online poker players in that state are ecstatic that they will now have a safe, regulated American poker product to enjoy, actual play maybe some time away. Yes, the first round of interactive gaming licenses has been dished out to the states two largest slot machine manufacturers, and word is that at least three more suppliers will probably receive licenses this month. Industry analysts predict that as many as 20 Nevada online gaming websites could be launched in 2013.
And we are fully aware that more than 30 casino operators, software manufacturers, gaming equipment providers and both brick-and-mortar and online poker giants have already filed with the Nevada Gaming Control Board for interactive license applications. We are also aware of Nevada’s plans to approve at least two or three applicants per month this year, as well as in 2013. And Nevada has already put two gaming labs in place to test and certify proposed online poker room software. So why do we feel it may take some time before a substantial online poker presence is introduced to the World Wide Web in Nevada?
It is simply a numbers game. The player pool available to Nevada is not near as numerous as that available to a state like California or New York. And unless online poker players around the world pack up and head to Nevada, that player pool number will not initially deliver a significant return on the investment the initial online Nevada poker rooms are going to have to make. Bally Technologies was awarded Nevada Interactive Gaming License No. 1 on June 21, and their CEO Richard Haddrill said shortly after that, “It’s all about liquidity, the more players you can attract to your website, the better.”
With nearby California owning a rich history as far as brick-and-mortar poker rooms are concerned, they would be the logical choice as a partner for Nevada, but they have yet to pass online poker legislation. Delaware only last week passed a comprehensive online casino gaming bill, allowing for poker and other casino games to be played legally online by their residents and visitors when playing within the Delaware state boundaries. So they could provide a partner for Nevada, but Delaware as well has a very small player pool available to them.
It is estimated that $4 billion to $6 billion per year was being wagered online in the United States in poker rooms before the Department of Justice shut down online poker play in the US on April 15, 2011, known as Black Friday in the online gaming industry. While Nevada is certainly to be applauded for moving forward rapidly and allowing its residents the possibility to play online poker legally before any other state, partnering up as additional states legislate online poker play will not only keep them at the forefront of US online gaming, but will also provide a more potentially profitable experience for the players, poker room proprietors and the state of Nevada as well.