Whilst we mainly bring you UK based Casino news, casino and poker players will not have helped but notice reports in the press over the last week regarding the legalisation of online poker and online gambling in several US states. The first state to officially allow online poker was Nevada, home to the glitzy Las Vegas, and following hot on its heels was New Jersey (home to its East Coast rival Atlantic City), who have gone a step further and legalised the online play of all casino games which can be played in a bricks and mortar casino.
But what does this mean for UK casino players? Will we eventually see a return of US players to our favourite online poker rooms and also to our online casinos? Or will these bills still restrict players to the US, and not affect European and UK casinos?
It is my guess that this is the start of the re-introduction of US players to the global online gambling community; albeit a gradual one. Although bills in both Nevada and New Jersey have been passed, they are not thought to actually be operational until later on this year. The same goes with Delaware who also recently announced their own legalisation of online gambling, and who are seeking a casino operator to integrate with their powerful State Lottery. However, due to the smaller size of Delaware – which houses 917,000 residents, compared to New Jersey’s 9 million – it is thought that they will form either an interstate agreement, which will allow residents of other states to play across state borders, or even an international agreement, specifically with Europe.
Vernon Clark, director the Delaware Lottery Office, has confirmed there have been “discussions” with both Nevada and “Europe” (although the specifics of where in Europe are not known), so there is a chance this could see the first step to US players re-joining the international gaming market. Plus, despite intentions for Delaware to have their online gambling up and ready by 30th September 2013, they are still awaiting an operator. Could one of the UK based companies already in the US market show an interest? 888 Holdings, William Hill and bwin.party all currently have interests in the Las Vegas or Atlantic City markets, either through sports betting or partnerships with US based resorts, so it is not too big a leap to imagine there will be interest from UK based companies.
If this happens, we could see the start of online poker games between UK and US players by the end of 2013. The potential size of the US gambling market runs into billions, and if more states follow in the footsteps of Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware (such as Massachusetts, California and Iowa, who have similar bills in the pipeline), who knows what impact this could have on the rest of the world? Time will tell.