First Regulated Nevada Online Poker Site Launches

Online Poker Goes Live in Nevada

Ultimate Poker Launches in Nevada

The first regulated online poker website in the United States dealt its inaugural hand today, and with it made a place for itself in the annals of poker history. This morning, Ultimate Poker launched at 9 a.m. Pacific Time, ending several months of chatter and guesswork about when Silver State residents would be able to begin playing Internet poker.

Under the terms of the law, which allows for Nevada residents over the age of 21 to play online poker but excludes other forms of Internet wagering, players must be physically located within the borders of the state when logging onto any online poker website.

Owing to the fact that Nevada is one of the least populated states in the nation, for the time being the Nevada online poker market will likely be fairly small. Earlier this year, however, Nevada legislators passed a bill granting Governor Brian Sandoval the power to enter into interstate poker deals with other states that have regulated Internet gaming, a list that so far only includes Delaware and New Jersey.

As more states look into the possibility of permitting residents to play poker and place other types of wagers via the Internet, however, the ability to negotiate interstate deals will be crucial to Nevada, whose casino industry is positioning itself to be a dominant force in the burgeoning US online gambling market.

Unsurprisingly, the Chairman of Ultimate Poker, of which the Station Casinos company is a majority shareholder, heaped praise on his company for beating the competition to the punch.

In a press release, Tom Breitling was quoted as saying, “We are proud to be the first company to deliver legal and secure real money online gaming to poker players. We have worked closely with state gaming regulators to demonstrate our unique and compelling poker platform that, above all, players know they can trust. Ultimate Poker is dedicated to being the players’ choice for online poker.”

The press release also addressed the security and stability of the site’s platform, an aspect of online poker that is always of concern to players.

Speaking to this issue, Ultimate Poker CEO Tobin Prior stated, “We feel our technology is a major advantage. Ultimate Poker’s proprietary software is completely owned and operated by parent company Ultimate Gaming, allowing for continuous investment and product development.”

“The technology was acquired in 2011 and initially developed by a U.S. based company with a completely clean regulatory profile,” said Prior.

The commencement of online poker in Nevada marks a sea change for Internet poker in the United States, which has been a dodgy proposition ever since the federal government cracked down on US-facing online poker operators just over two years ago, on April 15, 2011, a day known to poker fans as Black Friday.

While there are some who staunchly believe that regulation has been too slow to come, there are many others who cheer the progress of the last two years. The rolling out of poker in Nevada and the passage of the Delaware and New Jersey regulation is the beginning of a trend that is sweeping the nation, as the list of states considering adopting some type of Internet wagering regulation continues to grow.

Massachusetts and California are all looking into online gambling, and just last week a bill was introduced in Pennsylvania that would clear the way for residents to place wagers from their homes or mobile devices. In Illinois, an online gambling provision was nixed from a casino expansion bill just last week, but the State Senate President has vowed to re-introduce the measure as a separate piece of legislation prior to the end of the current legislative session on May 30.

The spirit of the Nevada launch was perhaps best captured by Ultimate Poker brand ambassador Antonio Esfandiari, who said, “Online poker in the United States is finally here and totally legit.”