1188755_69483705Two new developments are taking shape today.  This morning, the first legal online poker site in more than two years, UltimatePoker.com, went live in Nevada.  And In New York, new life has been breathed into a floundering bill that would authorize brick and mortar casinos within the State.

Online Poker in the U.S. Goes Live for the First Time since Black Friday

It has been more than two years since Black Friday (April 15, 2011), the day the U.S. Justice Department took Internet poker offline.  However, this morning, the Nevada Gaming Control Board approved its first field trial allowing Ultimate Gaming to engage in intrastate online poker.  With the unveiling of Ultimate Gaming’s online poker site, UltimatePoker.com, players can once again place bets from their homes or anywhere else with Internet access, so long as the player is located within the State of Nevada.

Ultimate Gaming (the partners of which also own the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and have been actively promoting the launch of their site during UFC matches) may have a monopoly on the legally compliant U.S. online poker industry for now, but they should expect stiff competition shortly.  Several prominent Internet gaming service providers have been approved by the Nevada Gaming Commission (including 888, XYVerify, Lottomatica, CAMS, Global Cash Access Holdings and WMS Industries) and are expected to begin operations in the near future.  As of right now though, if you would like to legally play online poker, you will have to do so through UltimatePoker.com, which requires players to be 21+ years old and provide a valid Social Security Number and Nevada address.

New York Senate May Reconsider Authorizing Casinos within the State

In another exciting story taking shape, it appears that some New York State Senators would like to push a bill through the legislature that will allow casinos to set up within the State, far sooner than expected.  While there has been general consensus that the building of casinos would be a profitable and desirable venture for the State, a bill authorizing casinos has been slow in coming mostly due to the debate over where they should be located.

Today, Republican Senator John Bonacic, the Chairman of the Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee, has confirmed that he will be proposing revised legislation.  Given the fact that the proposed bill must be passed before the current legislative session ends in June, any resistance could result in the bill dying in committee or on the legislative floor.  It should be noted that several bills have passed in shorter time periods and with New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo expressing his tentative approval of casinos within the State, Senator Bonacic’s bill may have a real chance of passage during the current legislative session.  We will follow the bill’s progress and keep you apprised of any developments.

The expansion and progression of Nevada’s online poker sites and New York’s brick and mortar casino bill are significant topics for all gaming attorneys and those interested in online poker and gambling in general.

If you are interested in learning more about this topic or pursuing a venture in this area, please e-mail us at info@kleinmoynihan.com, or call us at (212) 246-0900.

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