Nevada First State to Approve Internet Poker

Nevada became the first state to approve Internet poker Feb. 21, edging New Jersey.

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval signed the legislation, unanimously approved by both houses of the Legislature, that allows intrastate Internet poker—and, more importantly, allows the state to form compacts with other states that allow Internet poker to expand the available customer base.

New Jersey has been working on similar legislation. Although Gov. Chris Christie vetoed an earlier bill on Internet poker, he could sign an amended bill later this month or in March.

"We're going to do it now," Assembly majority leader William Horne (D-Las Vegas) told the Las Vegas Sun Feb. 21. "We're going to beat New Jersey."

Pari-mutuel wagering is one of the few forms of gambling in the U.S. allowed to conduct Internet wagering. Online poker could add competition for racing, although owners of prominent advance-deposit wagering outlets such as Churchill Downs ( and Betfair (TVG) have expressed interest in offering Internet poker should it be legalized.

Betfair offers poker in countries where it is legal and Churchill has said it has a platform ready should poker be allowed in the U.S. Federal legislation on Internet poker has failed to advance but several other states are considering legislation similar to Nevada.

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