Nevada was the first state to take advantage of a reversed United States Department of Justice mindset regarding online poker. Way back in December of 2011 the Grinch-like DOJ grew a heart and made a holiday season gift just a couple of days before Christmas of their ruling that only gambling on sporting contests online should be illegal at the federal level. Everything else could be handled individually at the state level, and Nevada rapidly, in early 2012, legalized online poker.
But that state still needed to develop an infrastructure, put a regulatory system in place, figure out their application and fees process and line up some gaming labs for testing potential candidates. Here it is a little more than one year after Nevada legalized online poker, and we have still yet to see the actual virtual Vegas shuffle up and deal. That is all about to change though, and just last month Nevada gaming officials disclosed that May would definitely see online poker play in The Silver State, and possibly even April.
In 1970 Benny Binion got the whole WSOP madness started at his Horseshoe Casino on 128 Fremont Street in Downtown Vegas, and just this week the newly owned WSOP began asking Nevada poker players for some help. The WSOP brand was sold to Harrah’s Entertainment in 2004, and then the Rio Hotel and Casino just off the Vegas strip in 2005. Last month Caesars Interactive Entertainment (CIE), the largest online, mobile and social gaming company focused on casino entertainment, purchased the powerful WSOP brand. Officials in control of the WSOP side of that company began extending invitations to poker players this week, asking them to test out the beta version of the new WSOP.com poker site.
Well past the gaming labs testing stage and ready to shuffle up and deal, the WSOP site has requested the aid of poker players in Nevada 21 years of age and over to help them weed out any last-minute bugs. If you live in Nevada and are of legal gambling age in that state, you can head over to the WSOP poker site and register for what will probably be limited to “play money” action at this beta level. On the test site an announcement declares that, “By joining the WSOP.com beta program you will be among the first players to experience the WSOP.com online poker platform.”
Caesars is a storied name in brick-and-mortar casino management, and they have already teamed up with 888 Holdings PLC to handle the software side of offering online poker in Nevada. The two companies also have overseas licensing agreements to offer online gambling in physical Caesars-owned casinos, and both companies are currently licensed to offer online poker in Nevada. There has been no rollout or drop-dead date for the start of real money action on the WSOP.com site, and WSOP is battling South Point Poker and Fertitta Interactive’s UFC-sponsored Ultimate Poker to become the historical website to first offer online poker action in Nevada.