Nevada Grants Online Poker Operating License to 888

Earlier this month the Nevada Gaming Control Board recommended approval of an online poker operating license for a joint venture between online poker room 888 and land-based Las Vegas Casino Treasure Island. Sources close to the company say that it plans to launch games that will be accessible to Silver State as early as May.

In a statement, 888 CEO Brian Mattingley said, “This is an historic moment for 888. This is the first time a company uniquely providing online gaming has been licensed by any US jurisdiction.”

“Seen in the industry as the gold standard of global gaming regulation, we are delighted to have been awarded our licence to operate in the State of Nevada, a decision that vindicates our US strategy. We¬†look forward to working with all our strategic partners and to re-launching the 888 brand in the US following the finalisation of platform approval,” the statement continued.

As Mattingley mentioned, the green-lighting of 888’s license is noteworthy in that it clears the way for the first online-only gambling company to begin operating real money Internet poker games in Nevada. While Caesars Interactive, the online arm of Caesars and the home of the WSOP as well as the social casino that features the popular Slotomania, has also been granted a license, it is technically part of Caesars Entertainment and therefore is not considered a wholly online company.

Nevada is the first state in the nation to regulate online poker. Last month legislators there passed a bill that will allow the state to enter into interstate poker deals with other states that have also legalized online betting. The bill was moved through the Nevada legislature at record speed with bi-partisan support after Governor Brian Sandoval, himself a former chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board (and its youngest), lobbied hard for its swift passage.

The ability for Nevada to enter into negotiations for interstate poker compacts was seen as being of vital importance to the state’s casino industry and its potential to capture a wide online poker market. Thus far, two other states, Delaware and most recently New Jersey, have also passed laws that will allow residents to place wagers over the Internet.

Whereas the law in Nevada provides only for online poker, Delaware and New Jersey will permit residents to access various forms of online gambling. For a number of months Nevada and New Jersey have been involved in a heated race to be the first to have real-money gambling go live. It looks as Nevada will be the winner of that particular battle, as it has been estimated that sites won’t be up and running in New Jersey for about eighteen to twenty-four months, though a firm timeline has not been established as yet.

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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