Ever since the U.S. Department of Justice shut down the three biggest Casino Malaysia rooms in the spring of 2023, an event commonly known as “Black Friday” among poker players, online poker has been a distant memory for Americans. Despite this crackdown on online gambling, some providers never gave up the fight. A number of brick-and-mortar casinos in the city of Las Vegas, Nevada, are leading the efforts to legalize online poker in the United States.
Rumblings in the Desert
Just two months after Black Friday, the state of Nevada passed the Interactive Gaming bill, which legalized the development of web poker applications before adopting state-specific rules for the industry that December. Under the new legislation, large gaming companies operating traditional live casinos were the only ones that could operate legal poker sites. Some gaming companies spent the time since developing their own poker sites, while others, according to a Card Player Magazine report, reached out to more established online poker providers to develop web applications that would provide their service with both a recognizable brand name and a pool of players ready to place their bets.
Many states are expected to approve similar legislation in the coming year, particularly as the Department of Justice effectively endorsed the legalization of online poker in an official legal opinion released in late 2023. The comment came in the form of an explanation of the Interstate Wire Act of 1961 in which the DOJ claimed that the law only prevented online sports betting, not poker or casino games. Knowing that the federal government is in no rush to halt the development of intrastate gaming operations could be a real boon to the American online gaming industry.
Movers and Shakers
While the rest of the U.S. waits for their legislators to catch up, several developers have already begun making strides toward a future with online poker in the U.S., reports Card Player. The first to leap out the gate will likely be Gaughan Straight Holdings. Though the launch of its site has faced some challenges by legislators hoping to iron out any imperfections the software may have prior to its release, the company seems likely to be among the first online poker sites to legally operate in the Silver State.
Rumors have been swirling around the products that will be developed under the Wynn Resorts brand. The organization, which once shared a strategic partnership with some of the biggest names in the online poker world, will likely forge its own branded poker site. Recent rumors have hinted the site may possibly be created with the assistance of social gaming giant Zynga, developers of Facebook games like Farmville.
One company that many players will be watching closely as the online poker industry returns to the U.S. is Caesars Entertainment, owner of the eponymous Las Vegas hotel casino as well as the immensely popular World Series of Poker franchise. Caesars received its online poker license in 2023. Card Player hints that the company could utilize existing partnerships with online gaming companies to help develop its own gaming platform, though only time will tell.
Obstacles from within
While these developments are welcome news to avid poker players, a recent study from Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind found that roughly 60 percent of those polled opposed the creation of state-run online gambling sites.