Nevada’s online poker scheme has been up and running for nearly two months and the results show a need for interstate compact agreements.
The Silver State amended its Internet poker regulations in February to include such partnerships with other states and will require those compacts when other licensed operators such as WSOP.com and Treasure Island join the mix in coming weeks. Thus far, Ultimate Poker has been the only option for residents and tourists to play fully-regulated real money online poker in Nevada.
Since making history as the first site to launch in the U.S. on April 30, Ultimate Poker has been branded a success. A worldwide ranking of 32nd place with an average of about 200 players found at the cash tables round-the-clock would likely be a viable operation should those numbers remain constant. But player traffic at the site is expected to take a serious hit when the competition arrives in the form of Caesar Entertainment’s WSOP.com later this summer.
With a population of roughly 2.7 million residents, analysts believe that online poker in Nevada has reached its peak with regards to player traffic. While tourists to the state can also play online, the number of non-resident players is likely minimal. The state is currently inundated with professional poker players from throughout the world who are in town for the live WSOP festival, which is in its 43rd year. Many log on at Ultimate Poker from time-to-time, but most are much more interested in the large prize pools offered at ony one of 62 scheduled live events at the Rio All Suite Hotel & Casino.
With Ultimate Poker being analyzed as a test case and considering that gaming officials have issued a significant number of operator licenses who will eventually also unveil online offerings, an online poker regime without interstate agreements would surely be spread too thin in Nevada. The Silver State needs to join forces with Delaware and New Jersey and other states that may also enact online gambling legislation.
While many other state legislatures have been considering online poker and gambling regulations, progress has unfortunately slowed down considerably in recent months. Lawmakers in Illinois and Pennsylvania have seemingly put their efforts on hold for the time being. California continues to be bogged down by in-fighting among the state’s Indian tribes, racetracks and card rooms. And when the Golden State does perhaps see clear to approving online poker, indications are that the country’s most populous state will elect to offer only an intrastate online poker model.
For this reason, Nevada has also advanced legislation that would permit agreements with online poker sites in foreign jurisdictions. International compacts are also seen as key in improving the small player base found in the real-money online poker regime in Nevada. Europe alone has a wealth of potential partners for the Silver State to choose from in order to increase player liquidity and allow for a viable online poker model.
While the launch of Ultimate Poker has brought hope to U.S. players that regulated online poker will eventually spread throughout the country, it looks as though such movement will progress in slow fashion. But some progress is better than no progress. And once new poker sites in Nevada are online and partnerships are forged with other states and countries, things may advance more quickly. States that are teetering on whether to enact online poker legislation may speed up their efforts when a sustainable model is already in place.
In the meantime, there are a wealth of U.S. online poker sites in 2013 that still accept and cater to Americans. Many offer huge first-time deposit bonuses that provide a nice boost to player bankrolls. Players who would like to find out more about these sites can read our reviews of the most reliable and dependable U.S.-facing online poker rooms, many of whom offer quick deposit and withdrawal options.