South Point Poker, owned by Michael Gaughan, became the first US casino operator to get a license to operate a real money online poker room within Nevada. South Point Poker CEO Lawrence Vaughan said that the online poker room will be launched in October.
While this is excellent news for Nevada, as many as 50 poker networks intrastate, each governed by its own regulatory framework, will not work in the long run. The Nevada Gaming Commission is gearing up to license many more casino operators, but the ideal solution for US online poker is the formation of proper federal poker laws, which will legalize online poker gaming throughout the US. However, Nevada, which is the first US state to create a regulatory framework for poker, will be the ideal state to lead the country’s online poker industry.
Howard Stutz, gaming writer for Review Journal, said, “What seemed like a tremendous decision for the gaming industry nine months ago – the re-evaluation of the Federal Wire Act of 1961 – may not be so advantageous for Nevada unless Congress takes steps to enact Internet poker legislation.”
US states seeking to boost state revenue at any cost are willing to tap into the online poker potential. Since the federal government has so far failed in creating proper poker laws, individual states have taken it upon themselves to regulate the online poker industry within their borders. Lorenzo Fertita, vice chairman of Station Casinos, said, “There are different standards for gaming regulation in one state versus another. We know some companies will shop for the lowest common denominator. We could start seeing bets being taken away from Nevada.”
US poker players were estimated to be spending as much as $26 billion on online poker games every year before the incidents of April 15 last year, the day on which the federal government cracked down on three major online poker rooms. A void has been created in the lives of these poker players now that these major online poker rooms have withdrawn from the US, and referring to this void, Mr. Fertitta said, “Those betting tourists might stay home and spend a significant portion of their budget online. You think we just went through a bad economy over the last three years? That could be nothing compared to effect of full-blown Internet gaming on a state-by-state basis. That’s why we’re so focused on some kind of federal structure.”