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Legal Online Poker Launches in Nevada

Online poker is now available for players in the US state of Nevada. After the game was completely banned by the American government in 2011, Nevada locals are now free to play Texas Hold’em and other games.

Online poker kicks off in Nevada

Citizens of the US state of Nevada this week become the first to be able to play online poker legally. On Tuesday the first legal Internet poker site, Ultimate Poker, launched to a fanfare, and is set to be followed by up to 20 competitors including online social gaming giant Zynga.

The move comes just two years after the American government cracked down on the major offshore Internet poker sites which were accepting US players. This saw the end of Poker Stars and others’ operations in America and forced locals to either go to a physical card room, play at an illegal site, or travel abroad for their poker fix.

Online gambling has had a rocky history in the US over the last seven years or so. In 2006 the US authorities banned online gambling, although poker, as a skill game, was seen by many to be in a grey zone. This ended two years ago with the so-called Black Friday when poker sites were outlawed. In recent months states including Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey have moved to pass laws which will allow online gambling.

Fighting for the Competition

Ultimate Poker is owned by the same group which runs the fiercely successful Ultimate Fighting Championships, an almost-anything goes physical fighting which is seen by many to have almost trumped boxing as the most popular in the country. The owners are hoping to utilize this success to promote their poker room, which has already been advertised in the UFC rings for the past few months.

"It's an opportunity to show the world how to properly run online poker," Ultimate Gaming chairman Tom Breitling told the Associated Press. "When you look at the demographic of the UFC fan and the online poker player, it's almost a perfect overlap.”

The Fertitta family, which owns UFC, also runs a number of casinos in Las Vegas, the biggest gambling city in the US which is also in Nevada. Ultimate Poker has said it will aim to prove to the authorities that it is fully trustworthy – only players over the age of 21 will be allowed to play and strict online checks will be put in place.

"There was black Friday, and now we're going to have 'trusting Tuesday,'" said Ultimate Gaming CEO Tobin Prior. "Players won't have to worry if their money is safe. They are going to be able to play with people they can trust and know the highest regulatory standards have been applied."

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About the author
Daniel Hattem
From Amsterdam, Netherlands, Daniel Hattem is a qualified journalist who has worked in both media and non-media roles...

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