Nevada legalizes online poker

Posted By Kristen Butler,  |  Feb. 22, 2013 at 5:15 PM
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Already home to a major gaming industry, Nevada is preparing to take its bets online after becoming the first state in the nation to authorize the lucrative online poker market, where billions of dollars are wagered domestically and tens of billions of dollars are bet from around the world.

“This is an historic day for the great state of Nevada,” said Governor Brian Sandoval, a former state gaming chairman, during the signing ceremony in Carson City. “Today I signed into law the framework that will usher in the next frontier of gaming in Nevada. This bill is critical to our state’s economy, and ensures that we will continue to be the gold standard for gaming regulation.”

While the law goes into effect immediately, it will probably be months before the first game is played in Nevada and longer before the games are allowed to take bets from players from outside the state. Numerous obstacles remain to be worked out, according to state officials.

Intrastate online poker is expected to draw about $2 million to $3 million a year to Nevada, but the state is small and the number of new tourists is limited. Bigger economic benefit would come from negotiating with other states to form a compact that allows the expansion of Internet gaming to customers from those states. Nevada hopes to be able to supply licensing and regulation that could make online poker accessible everywhere in the United States — a market of $4 billion to $10 billion annually.

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