Nevada last week became the first state to pass legislation that allows online poker within its boundaries. This act rounds off an eventful year for online poker in the US.

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Ever since the federal government cracked down on the three largest online poker sites in the UD in April, there has been much speculation and debate on the future of this activity. While the federal government is still dragging its feet on a nationwide policy on online gambling, some states have been taking steps to pass laws that will permit online poker at an intrastate level.

Nevada was first off the block when The Nevada Gambling Commission unanimously voted to approve regulations allowing the online game of skill. The state has thus consolidated its position as the frontrunner in regulating, licensing and managing gambling – both the brick and mortar as well as the virtual varieties.

The state has laid down several conditions for companies that wish to operate online poker sites. These regulations have obviously taken into account the lessons learnt from the examples of the online poker companies that were targeted by the Department of Justice in April.

Some of these conditions include fool proof verification of age and location of players placing bets at a site, guaranteeing of players’ money in the form of cash reserves or irrevocable letters of credit, limiting the prize money earning of celebrity players endorsed by a site and ensuring that players have only one account.

In a future scenario where online poker is approved by a federal law also, these regulations would place Nevada in a leadership position to provide licensing, regulation and management services to other states which might not want to invest in creating their own framework for running online poker. These states may well prefer to allow Nevada to administer their online poker activity.

It is reported that several companies have already applied for Nevada licenses including Caesar’s Entertainment, Boyd Gaming, South Point and Cantor Gaming. If Nevada can move equally swiftly in setting up the technology and control standards then the first of the licensees could begin operations as early as the second half of 2012.

Some of the other states which are contemplating legislation to allow online poker within their state borders include California and Iowa. This is a reflection of the thinking on the part of several states that online poker is a viable source of revenue generation.

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