Last week, in a significant step towards making online poker a reality, the Nevada Gaming Commission issued two licenses for online betting.
Las Vegas based Bally Technologies Inc. and Reno, Nev. based International Game Technology both received approvals from the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB). According to Michael Lawton, a senior research analyst with the NGCB, both companies must now get their systems approved by independent testing laboratories before they can begin operating.
The firms must also wait for the state of Nevada to allow casino operators to provide online gaming to Nevada residents. However, it is expected that they begin operating very quickly after this as both firms run successful operations in Europe.
These two approvals have paved the way for the U.S. casino industry to expand into the online market. Researchers H2 Gambling Capital believes that the market may be worth $13.4 billion in just five years.
Since Nevada passed a statute authorising online gambling last year, around twenty four companies have applied for licenses including Caesars Entertainment Corp. and MGM Resorts International, the largest operators of U.S. casinos.
Last year the U.S. Justice Department issued an opinion which cleared the way for online gambling within state borders. Since then ten states have authorised or are considering authorising some form of online gambling.
In related news London based William Hill was awarded a traditional license in Nevada after a purchasing three businesses that collect sports bets in Nevada over the past year. Since being awarded the license the CEO, Ralph Topping, has said that they are now seeking an online license. Topping said that having a presence in Nevada is part of the “platinum process you have to go through. You’re ready for anything that happens elsewhere in the U.S.”