Key lawmakers are now saying that a deal between New Jersey and Nevada to allow online poker websites to combine player pools could occur by next year.
When Nevada first legalized online poker in 2011, lawmakers in that state included language in the bill that would allow Nevada to form interstate compacts with other states that also wanted to legalize it. This provided a way for states to gain tax revenue and boost their economy without relying on the federal government to act. This also gave many online poker websites in Nevada the hope that they would soon be able to enter new markets and build bigger pools of players. This would allow them to give higher payouts while minimizing risk.
Early this year, New Jersey became the second state to legalize online poker and include language that allowed for interstate compacts. This led to speculation that the two states would reach an agreement allowing for major casinos, such as MGM Resorts and Ceasars, to sell their online services to customers in both states.
The Nevada State Gaming Control Board Chairman, A. G. Burnett, has confirmed that the state has been doing research to determine what the effects of such a compact would be and that such research is almost finished. Ray Lesniak, a lawmaker in New Jersey has also stated that he thinks a deal will happen soon. In addition, the CEO of MGM has made the claim that a deal is likely to occur within the next year.
The possibility of such a deal has spurred many Atlantic City casinos to partner with software companies to produce their online gaming sites. Ceasars Entertainment has partnered with 888, Trump Taj Majal with Ultimate Gaming, and Resorts Casino with PokerStars.
Many Las Vegas casinos are still pushing for federal legislation to legalize online gaming throughout the country. Rep. Joe Barton has recently come over to their side and introduced a bill for that purpose: the Internet Poker Freedom Act of 2013. In the past, such efforts at federal legislation have failed. However, even if these efforts fail again, the state-level push to make online poker legal in as many places as possible is likely to continue.