Nevada Beats New Jersey to the Online Poker Punch
If 2013 swept in on a bit of a sour note as far as fans of online poker were concerned, given the fact that the longshot online poker legislation put forward by Senator Harry Reid and now-retired Arizona Senator Jon Kyl flopped in the Senate after raising the collective hopes of the industry, only two months into the year the mood has grown considerably brighter.
Just as many had predicted would happen, in the absence of federal action on the issue, states from coast to coast are literally racing to beat each other to begin offering real-money online poker games (and in a few states, other types of online wagering games, as well) to residents both within and beyond their borders.
So which state is the big winner so far? The answer is resoundingly Nevada, especially after the historic week that is now drawing to a close. On Thursday, the governor of Nevada, Brian Sandoval, signed an amendment to the bill passed last year that legalized online poker.
The revision, known as Assembly Bill 114, clears the way for interstate online poker deals, meaning Nevada online poker rooms will be able accept players from across state lines rather than only within the borders of the Silver State. Governor Sandoval will be charged with negotiating such deals with other states that have also legalized the game, which thus far is a list with only one state’s name on it: Delaware.
That list is expected to grow steadily longer during 2013 and into 2014, as well, with New Jersey slated to be the next state to grant the go-ahead to Internet-based wagering. New Jersey lawmakers sent a bill to the desk of the state’s Republican Governor, Chris Christie, late last year. Under the terms of the bill, New Jersey’s Internet gambling industry would be required to situate their servers in embattled gambling mecca of Atlantic City.
After a long period of indecision and speculation, Christie issued a conditional veto on the legislation at the beginning of this month, sending it back to the state legislature to make changes with regard to tax rates, accommodations for problem gambling, and the establishment of a ten-year expiration date on the law. Christie has said that he will sign the bill into law as soon as lawmakers kick it back to him, which is expected to occur on the 26th or 27th of this month.
In the meantime, it’s possible that the large casino corporations in Nevada, many of whom have already been granted operating licenses by the Nevada Gaming Control Board, an institution of which Governor Sandoval was once the chairman, might be daydreaming about all the profits they intend to reap once the online poker games go live. Still in the testing phase, the sites are expected to be open to customers later on this year.
Upon signing the online poker bill last Thursday, reportedly just before 4 p.m., Governor Sandoval said, “This is a historic day. This is the day we usher Nevada into the next frontier of gaming.“
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