Things are heating up for online poker legislation

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The summer weather isn’t the only thing heating up these days. There are some major announcements for the advancement of regulated online poker in the United States. Here’s a recap of the online poker news from the past month.

NEVADA: As reported last issue in Ante Up, Bally Technologies became the first company to be approved for an online gaming license by the Nevada Gaming Commission.
Now the NGC has granted the second license to International Game Technology. Expect to see many more approvals by the NGC in the coming months, as there are almost two dozen companies waiting to get through all of the hearings and reviews for their chance to be included in the state’s virtual realm.

DELAWARE: This state wasted no time in coming up with an online gaming proposal, getting it in the form of a bill (HB 333), passing the bill in the Senate (by narrowly getting enough votes for passage 14-6-1) and then gaining signature by Gov. Jack Markell on June 28, making online gaming, including poker, legal in that state. Delaware was looking to partner with some of its neighboring states on this, but the law that got passed was only for Delaware.

There’s still some speculation, however, that as other states come online, Delaware will be willing to discuss some form of joint interstate commerce. Backers of this legislation predict the annual tax revenues from online gaming will be almost $8 million.

ONLINE SOLUTION PARTNERSHIPS: Recently, 888 and WMS Gaming partnered to provide land-based casinos with a solid online poker solution. Their solution is being touted as a well-honed and secure network that will provide their players the best possible experience. 888 and Caesars Entertainment have been in business together in the UK, where 888 has provided the software and infrastructure for the UK’s World Series of Poker for the past three years. In line with this partnership, 888, WMS and Caesars have applied with the Nevada Gaming Commission for an online gaming license.

POKERSTARS-FULL TILT UPDATE: On July 2, Ray Bitar (Full Tilt Poker CEO) surrendered to U.S. authorities, then pleaded not guilty to all charges. He was released on $2.5 million bail a week later. The indictment alleges, among other charges, the company perpetrated a Ponzi scheme on its players. On July 3, Bitar released a statement indicating he was committed to repaying all player accounts and that a deal with PokerStars was still in the works, hinting toward a July close date. We’ll keep you updated as details are released.
— Email Joel Gatlin at editor@anteupmagazine.com.