Online Poker is Once Again Legal in Nevada

August 21, 2013

After quite a long wait for the legalization of online poker, the gaming industry is quite happy with the latest news. The very first hand of online poker, which can be played legally in the United States of America, has finally been dealt. At the end of July, popular poker room Ultimate Poker, opened its doors online, letting players over 21 years of age in Nevada explore the online world of poker.

The movement towards legalizing online poker has been going on for quite some time and it has been a difficult journey. However, by opening out its virtual doors to let poker players in, Ultimate Poker has started reigniting hope in the heart of the poker industry. There isn’t any other place more fitting for a revolution to begin such as this, than in Nevada.

Nevada has fallen on very hard times in the recent past

Even though the state of Nevada has been considered to be quite a famous tourist spot for poker players and other gamblers, the place has been going through some tough times. The casino strip has been seeing at least a thirty percent dip in annual revenue since the past ten years, according to what was stated in USA Today. The revenue slope is quite likely to continue going downwards due to people choosing to save rather than go on vacations. This could also be the result of the tough economy.

The poker industry is left watching the other states to see if they will adopt online gaming as well. According to what Los Angeles Times printed, if online poker becomes legal all over the country, the industry can earn over ten billion dollars every year. Since Nevada is the region that initiated this revolution, it would be excellent if the other states consulted and negotiated with it.

The deal looked quite impossible two years ago

Ultimate Poker struck the deal initially on April 30 this year and opened its doors to poker players of the country. The deal seemed quite impossible about two years ago, when the crackdown in the industry was initiated by the FBI and most online poker sites were shut down.

Black Friday, as it is popularly called, happened on April 15, 2011, when the government of the United States seized all domains of Full Tilt Poker, PokerStars, Absolute Poker, and Ultimate Bet. The crackdown ended up destroying over 95 percent of the entire online poker industry and markets, leaving all the players with no poker site to go to.

Players were unable to cash out when the FBI seized assets

When the government of the United States seized all the assets of the websites mentioned, players of these sites weren’t allowed to cash out. For some of the players it meant that they were losing out on thousands of dollars, if not more, during the period when the sites were tied in long sessions of legal proceedings. The main immediate concern for many players was that the main source of playing poker was taken away from them.

The only way these players could play online poker was by dealing with offshore betting companies. However, these sites have varying levels of trust, security, and competition, which didn’t quite make the gaming experience enjoyable for the players of the United States.

Rebuilding the field of online poker

There is no particular secret as to why online poker is so popular. The convenience and ease of playing on the internet, without physically being present in a casino, is more like a beacon to most players. Also, the new players could quickly learn the proceedings of the games, and the veterans could try out their own new strategies to make money. Unfortunately, the happenings of Black Friday put a complete full stop to the fun that these players were having.

There is a loophole using which, the operators are letting their websites flourish. This is the Wire Act of 1961. According to this act, gambling is declared to be illegal, but only mentions gambling related to sporting events. Since it doesn’t include any other type of gambling, Nevada led the revolution and passed an in-state law regarding gambling. By doing so, the state has constructed a view, which can lead the rest of the nation to reinstate the operations of online poker.

Part of the reason why Nevada went ahead with the legalization of online poker was to beat its rival region, New Jersey. It is considered to be the next logical home for online gambling after Nevada, soon as the infrastructures are deemed to be suitable for the gaming industry. Also, part of Nevada’s rules regarding online poker games is that the players will have to physically be present in the state while accessing the gaming software. This means that outsiders will not be permitted to take any money out of Nevada.

Potential drawbacks involved in the matter

Even though legalizing poker in the state of Nevada and going against all other restrictions put forth by the United States’ government is a huge step towards the future, there are quite a lot of risks for poker players. One main risk is that the players might get in quite deep, which means they may end up spending money that isn’t meant for online poker gaming.

The other risk is related to the issues regarding online security, especially when there are new funds being added to a poker account. Services such as Life Lock might be essential for the players who want to play using public Wi-Fi networks.

When the major poker sites shut down and most of the players started using the offshore sites, many who weren’t part of the gaming industry wondered why the country’s government just refused to legalize online poker, regulate the gambling industry, and tax it. In theory, this would end up solving most of the problems that the online gaming industry is currently facing.