First Legal Online Poker Site Now Running In NevadaMay 1, 2013 1:10 pm
It has been a slow process since Nevada legalized online poker in 2011, but finally the Silver State has now become the first jurisdiction to have a legalized real-money online poker site up and running in the US.
On Tuesday morning, UltimatePoker started offering poker ring games ranging from $0.01/$0.02 to $10/$20 to Nevada customers, with other games expected to be added later. Commenting on the historical launch, Ultimate Gaming CEO Tobin Prior, said:
“There was black Friday, and now we’re going to have ‘trusting Tuesday. Players won’t have to worry if their money is safe. They are going to be able to play with people they can trust and know the highest regulatory standards have been applied.”
Nevada casino developer Station Casinos owns Ultimate Poker and after players have created an online account at Ultimate Poker, they are then able to deposit and cash out at any of the company’s 16 Las Vegas locations. For the moment, Station Casinos may be able to bask in the limelight but already at least another 20 companies are waiting in the wing to join the Nevada Internet gambling industry. These includes the likes of Zynga Inc, 888, International Game Technology and Bally Technologies Inc.
Nevertheless, Nevada has just 2.8 million people, and despite attracting 52 million visitors each year, it remains to be seen how lucrative the fledgling industry will prove. It is also likely to take some time before the rest of the country catches up, and as ITG casino analyst Matthew Jacob explains: “I think the real excitement will be when we get a very populous state like a California or a New York allowing these companies to expand. But these changes often take longer to occur than people assume. It requires a change in law and then it takes a while from when the law passes until the sites are up and running.”
An estimated $35 billion is wagered each year on online gambling, and it has been estimated that the US online poker market could produce $4.3 billion in revenue in its first year alone, and around $9.6 billion by its fifth year of operation.