After becoming the first state in the US to legalize online poker after the Department of Justice changed their tune regarding its legalities in December of 2011, online poker enthusiasts have wondered ever since when Nevada will virtually shuffle up and deal for the first time. On the manufacturing side of the equation, Bally Technologies, International Game Technology and Shuffle Master have all been granted online interactive gaming licenses in that state, and earlier predictions this year showed mid-2013 as the earliest date that actual play would transpire. But recent proceedings and developments, coupled with the fact that Nevada desperately wants to become the first state to offer legalized online poker in the US since the friendlier DOJ legislation was adopted, means that the online poker community may see Nevada Internet poker as early as October of this year.
If South Point Poker receives the first interactive online gaming operator’s license in Nevada when the Nevada Gaming Commission (NGC) meets on August 23, online play in that state could be less than 60 days away. That company actually applied for licensing in three different categories, as manufacturer, operator and service provider. And all signs point to pretty much a rubber stamp approval from the NGC, meaning that beta testing could start as early as October after software has been approved for South Point Poker websites.
That would allow South Point and Nevada to obtain a crucial and financially important lead in legalized online poker play in the United States. Delaware has since passed a full cadre of legalized online casino gaming legislation, not just centered around online poker, and other states are pressing to join those two states in the US in the virtual poker arena. For South Point Hotel Casino and Spa to get a headstart on monster casino players like Caesars Entertainment and MGM Grand, and Nevada to get a headstart on the entire nation in the online poker world, would prove incredibly advantageous to both parties.
South Point intelligently has already laid down the groundwork with a “play for free” website developed last October. And their software has already been undergoing lab testing by the appropriate parties to be approved by the NGC. But the NGC has given South Point 5 specific adherences that must be met before the license can be approved and purchased. The stipulations cover safety and security for player data and information, as well as a plan of operation moving forward. Once all requirements are met and the technology has been approved, and a $500,000 license fee is paid, the transition from their existing “free to play” platform to real money action for Nevada tourists and residents will be as easy and speedy as flipping a light switch.
The Monarch Casino and resort is also scheduled for a hearing from the NGC on Thursday as to their approval or disapproval of an interactive online gaming license in Nevada as well. Thus far almost 3 dozen companies have applied for interactive gaming licenses in the Silver State since the December 2011 US DOJ ruling which stated each individual state in the US should dictate their own statewide online poker policy. Many companies like South Point have applied in more than one category for an interactive online gaming license, with 11 applications for online poker operators licenses, 17 manufacturing licenses, and 2 dozen service provider licenses applied for overall.