Today (December 22nd 2011) was a very important day for online poker players in the United States. Today there was a vote held at the Nevada Gaming Control Board in Las Vegas to determine whether online poker would be legalized. The vote today was 4 – 0 in favour of regulating online poker and making it legal to play in the state of Nevada. For the time 1st time in history online poker is now legal in Nevada, but there currently aren’t any licensed poker rooms.
It’s expected that the 1st licensed poker rooms in the state of Nevada will open around February 1st 2012. The poker rooms will only be able to operate in the state of Nevada for now. However, licensed operators in Nevada will be able to offer interstate online poker games if the Federal government legalizes online poker. This would give the Nevada operators a huge opportunity to cash in on the US market in the future if the Federal government decides to regulate online poker on a national level.
It has already been reported that six companies have applied for a license to operate in Nevada. The companies that have already submitted an application include Bally Technologies, Shuffle Master, International Game Technology, South Point Poker, Cantor Gaming and 888 Holdings. The only online poker operator that applied for a license thus far is 888 Holdings and if they can break into the US market they could definitely start competing with the big boys in the online poker industry.
There hasn’t been any word on how many operators will receive a license in Nevada initially, but I’m sure there will be several poker rooms operating in the state in 2012. Now that Nevada has taken the steps necessary to regulate and legalize online poker I’m sure we’re going to see other states in the USA follow suit in the New Year. Once other states see how Nevada regulated online poker they’ll be able to use the same model to legalize online poker and it might not be long before online poker is legalized in the USA.
Players that want to play with the licensed Nevada poker rooms will need to be able to provide ID and must be 21+ years of age just like in Vegas casinos. There will be other regulations that ensure players gamble responsibility and that every player is secure while playing online poker. This is definitely a huge step for online poker in the USA and players in the USA have to be happy that there may be legalized online poker in the future to avoid messes like Black Friday from ever happening again.