Extensions for applying to become one of the first businesses to offer Internet poker in Nevada have been extended to five companies. The monthly meeting of the Nevada Gaming Commission was held on October 24, where the possibility of adding other forms of casino gambling to current Internet poker offerings was discussed, and put on the back burner for now. The state also heard arguments from several companies requesting extensions for Internet gambling applications, and decided to extend the application processing deadline to five of them. The companies argued that their applications have already been submitted, but because of the sheer number of applicants, state gaming officials have not yet gotten around to processing every application.
The current regulations allow for a six month limitation on previously approved license holders, and the five businesses in question were concerned that the state of Nevada would take longer than that to act on their licenses. Currently just two companies operate live online poker sites in Nevada, Station Casinos’ Ultimate Poker and Caesars Interactive’s World Series of Poker. The companies who received extensions through April included Las Vegas-based Boyd Interactive Gaming, a subsidiary of Boyd Gaming.
They were among the five companies which already have systems set in place that need nothing more than gaming labs testing and the blessing of the state of Nevada to deliver Internet poker to the state’s residents and travelers. Reno-based PNK LLC, which is doing business as M1 Gaming Reno though the Boomtown Reno Truckstop was another one of the lucky companies given an extension, as were GNLV Corp, operated by Golden Nugget; MGM Resorts Online, a subsidiary of MGM Resorts International and Z4Poker LLC, doing business as Z4Gaming.
At the monthly NGC meeting, state gaming officials expressed their desire to “get online poker right” before offering some other form of online gambling. They also discussed proposals which are on the table from New Jersey that offer to enter into an interstate gambling compact, which would allow both of those states to share each other’s player pools. This would obviously be more advantageous to Nevada than New Jersey, as the Garden State claims 9 million residents, with the Silver State owning a population of just under 3 million. The early response at the Ultimate Poker and World Series of Poker websites has been positive, with more players signing up online for participation every day.
Many gambling analysts and industry executives in the United States were perplexed when Las Vegas decided to offer simply Internet poker, rather than a full range of Las Vegas style casino gambling options with their new Internet gambling-friendly legislation. Gaming Control Board Chairman A.G. Burnett told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that state officials were concerned Las Vegas and Nevada residents would stay home and choose Internet casino gambling over the live experience, thereby lowering revenue at casinos, restaurants, bars and hotels throughout the state.
Obviously this would negate any increase in revenue delivered by the virtual Vegas offering, so the state has decided to stick with just Internet poker for now. This situation bears watching closely, as New Jersey will begin delivering a full slate of online casino games and poker on November 26 to its state residents and visitors. Las Vegas would love to stay positioned as the leader in this new United States online gambling industry, as they were the first state to legalize online gambling, and a successful and early offering by NJ of a full line of online casino gambling options could force Nevada’s hand in that regard. Learn more about Vegas poker gambling.