RENO, NV - Nevada has just become the first state in the nation to grant licenses for online poker. Thursday, the State Gaming Commission gave Reno based International Game Technologies, and Bally Technologies in Las Vegas the go-ahead to begin creating online poker systems. Bill Eadington, economics professor and director of the Institute for the Study of Gambling and Commercial Gaming at UNR says the move is just one important step in a long journey .
He says while online gaming between states is still illegal a recent decision by the Justice Department opens the door for future possibilities. Now nevada is positioning itself to become a major player in the online gaming industry. "As this establishes, Nevada could play a very important role given it's expertise on both operations and regulations," says Eadington.
If interstate online gaming is legalized, and Nevada is established as a hub it could bring back dollars lost to the popularization of Indian casinos across the country. In the short term, the decision benefits our economy as those licenses provide development opportunities for gaming operations IGT and Bally Technologies.
Mark Lipparelli, Chairman of the Nevada State Gaming Control Board, tells us this decision has been a long time in the works. There's still a long road ahead. He says online poker within the state is still in the development phase, but is expected to be available for consumers toward the end of the year.