The Nevada Gaming Control Board announced that applications will be accepted for online poker licenses starting in February 2012. While that news was not a surprise in itself, many industry observers were caught off guard by the other announcement that went with that. These licensees will be allowed to accept real money players from the State of Nevada. In other words, starting in February 2012, intrastate online poker will be legal in the state. That makes Nevada the first state with legalized online poker.
Nevada has been an advocate for online poker. Seeing the potential for tax revenue and job creation, the Nevada Gaming Control Board was ordered by the state legislature to set up gaming regulations for online poker. These regulations would only go into effect if the federal government specifically legalized and regulated online poker. The Nevada Gaming Control Board took it another step. This additional step gives the licensed online poker companies the opportunity to accept real money players from within the state’s border.
Nevada online poker will likely not be a profitable venture. There is a large retired population that are not active internet users compared to younger age groups. Many in the younger age groups are going to be experienced poker players. It is doubtful that Nevada online poker would generate a lot of action. This still gives online poker licensees something comparable to a beta trial period. Software, support, security and servers can be tested while the small Nevada population becomes the software testers.
Last month, South Point casino opened up a play money online poker room. That was in anticipation of a move like this. Having a software online with a trained support staff and a player pool could be something that gives South Point a big head start on the other companies. If all goes well in Nevada, there could be online poker in less than six months for state residents.