February 22 was a big day for poker fans in Nevada -- and throughout the U.S. -- with state legislators and Governor Brian Sandoval working together to officially pass the state's new law legalizing online poker for Nevada residents.
Nevada hurriedly passed the bill in order to beat New Jersey to the punch, which is looking to pass its own poker bill to allow for poker and other online casino games to be offered to state residents; Delaware and the District of Columbia have already passed similar laws but the gambling world is much more focused on the efforts of Nevada and New Jersey when it comes to online gambling.
"This is an historic day for the great state of Nevada,” said Sandoval. "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."
Nevada has been working for nearly a year in preparation for offering intra-state online poker, already putting into place a regulatory framework and awarding licenses to operators, technology providers, and others. There's no timetable as of yet but many expect the first hands of legal online poker in Nevada to be dealt by mid-2013.
An important addition to the poker law in Nevada was the ability for Nevada to work in the future with other states to pool players, which is a key goal for Nevada, New Jersey, and any state looking to capitalize on legal online poker and casino games.
Other than California, none of the states currently looking to legalize online gambling have a large enough populatio to produce much of a profit for operators; pooling the player bases of smaller states, though, could result in a large enough player base.
Numerous companies have been awarded licenses to take acrack at the online gambling market in Nevada, with online poker giant PokerStars positioning it possibly purchase the Atlantic Club casino in Atlantic City if online poker is approved there as well, which many expect to happen within a few weeks.