Recapping the Top Three Online Poker News Stories of 2013

2013 certainly has been a big year as far as regulated Internet-based betting is concerned.

Only two years ago, in 2011, fans of online poker around the nation were lamenting the fact that access to the game became severely restricted for U.S.-based players after Black Friday.

Now, just a couple of short years later, three states have passed laws to regulate some form of online wagering.

As we wrap up this year and look forward to things to come in 2014, let’s revisit three of the biggest online poker stories in what has been without a doubt one of the most important years for the game in the United States.

Number three: Nevada becomes first state to offer legalized online poker

For our number three biggest online poker story from 2013, we’ve selected the start of legalized, real money online poker in the state of Nevada.

The Silver State became the first in the nation to pass online poker legislation when it did so back in 2011. It also made poker history by becoming the first state to see its real money online poker market go live when Ultimate Poker opened its virtual doors in April.

Nevada currently offers only online poker, as Internet casino games are not allowed under the state’s iGaming law.

This year A.G. Burnett, the state’s top gaming regulator, remarked that Nevada wanted to bring its online poker market a bit further down the road before opening up the market to other forms of Internet wagering, so we expect to see online poker remain the status quo in the Silver State for the foreseeable future.

Two real money online poker sites are currently operational in Nevada. In September, Caesars’ owned WSOP.com joined Ultimate Poker in the market. It should be noted that WSOP.com, unlike Ultimate Poker, does offer a Mac version of real money Internet poker.

Number two: Full Tilt remission process gets underway

Coming in at number two (though it may rank higher for those who had money on the site) in our lineup of the best online poker stories from the past year is the story of the beginning of the Full Tilt Poker remission process.

American players have been waiting a long time – since the above-mentioned Black Friday, April 15, 2011 – to see the return of account funds held frozen since the U.S. government seized the assets of the once-mighty online poker room amid a sweeping crackdown on offshore gaming companies operating U.S.-facing online poker rooms after the 2006 passage of the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA), a law designed to restrict financial transactions related to online betting.

So-called victim players had most of the fall to visit the web site of the government-appointed claims administrator, New Jersey-based Garden City Group, to submit their application for remissions, sign up for updates, and read posted information from the GCG.

Full Tilt accountholders had a variety of ways of applying for remission, though it rankled some that certain groups, among them affiliates, pros associated with the site, employees, and anyone who might have received similar payments from Full Tilt, were deemed ineligible to recover the value of their accounts, strictly player funds aside.

Actual money is supposed to start flowing in early 2014, with March or April dates being the most often quoted. We will of course keep updating this story as the date when refunds are expected draws nearer.

Number one: New Jersey launches real money online gambling web sites

And for the absolute biggest and best online poker news story of the year 2013 – the beginning of regulated online gambling in the state of New Jersey!

New Jersey is the most populous state in the nation to offer real money Internet wagering to residents. Exactly one month into the nascent industry, more than 100,000 Garden State citizens and visitors have created accounts at the state’s online casinos and poker rooms.

Some issues involving banking and geolocation are likely to persist for a matter of months, but by most accounts everything is “so far, so good” in New Jersey. The state is talked about as being likely to provide a model for other larger states looking to regulate Internet wagering in the coming years as action on the federal level remains extremely unlikely.

Honorable mention: Delaware rolls out regulated Internet betting

We couldn’t wrap up the wrap up without giving a tiny mention to tiny Delaware, the second state to see the start of online betting this year.

Though its market is small (sometimes the player pool is in the single digits), it is there, and we salute it.

About Cliff Spiller

Cliff Spiller has been an online writer for 14 years. He worked for Small World Marketing for a decade, where he covered topics like gaming, sports, movies, and how-to guides. Since 2014, he has blogged about US and international gambling news on BestOnlineCasinos.com, USPokerSites.com, and LegalUSPokerSites.com

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