Momentum Grows for Legal Online Poker in the US
Despite several setbacks in 2011 for online poker in the US, numerous US states are seriously considering passing laws to move towards offering legal online poker rooms for state residents.
While the US government's move in April 2011 to indict and seize the domains of PokerStars and Full Tilt -- the two largest online poker sites in the world -- definitely wasn't good news for online poker fans in the US, 2011 hasn't brought all bad news.
More and more US states are now considering legislation on the state level that could pave the way for offering legal online casino and poker sites to their residents. The District of Columbia has already passed such legislation and California, Nevada, New Jersey, and Iowa have all considered similar legislation.
New Jersey's state government already passed one bill that would allow the state to offer online gambling only to see it vetoed by the governor; a second similar bill has just been re-introduced, with hopes it will be passed the second time around.
New Jersey's bill earmarks revenues from online gambling to go to support the horse racing industry; it's also believed that it could stimulate gambling in Atlantic City, which has the second largest concentration of US casinos but has seen gambling revenues slide precipitously over the last year.
Nevada is currently putting a framework into place to offer online gambling if federal laws change, while two different bills in California to offer online poker have been shelved indefinitely after rigorous debate, with the supporters of the bills unable to get the support they needed to bring the bills to a vote.
Large Vegas casinos had been opponents of legal online gambling in the US but many have changed their tune in recent years, with Wynn and other casinos actually signing strategic partnership deals with PokerStars and Full Tilt online poker sites prior to the US government's moves in April, after which all ties were severed with the online sites.