lorenzo-fertitta-2.jpg(This story originally appeared on usatoday.com.)

Online poker players are out of the darkness.

At least in the U.S. And at least on the Internet.

On Tuesday, Ultimate Poker (ultimatepoker.com) became the first to provide legal online gaming in the U.S.

Tom Breitling, chairman of Ultimate Gaming said this “is a big moment” for the 50 million poker players in the U.S. “because its been this roller coaster ride over the past decade and we know that people like to play online poker and know they can be in a safe and secure environment.”

Station Casinos LLC of Las Vegas, which is controlled by UFC co-owners Lorenzo Fertitta and Frank Fertitta III, owns a majority stake in Ultimate Poker. The poker room is the UFC’s exclusive online gaming partner.

This is the first step to the path of multiple states possibly legalizing online gaming, which could generate billions of dollars.

Bree Goldman, who played in the first hand today, expects “a slow buildup because of legislation issues,” but does expect growth eventually.

“I think this will be very popular, very quickly in Nevada,” she said. “It is going to take interstate pacts in order for this to expand. Until that happens it won’t be a huge explosion. But this is definitely a huge foot in the door for this market. This had to happen for legislation to pass.”

Currently, New Jersey and Delaware have passed legislation but have yet to play their hand. Nevada for now remains the sole state to have put their legislation into action.

The first deal was Tuesday at noon ET. Players must be at least 21 years old and be located in the state of Nevada. Players can register from other states prior to their arrival in Nevada.

Games will be as small as 25-cent bet tournaments and $300 limit table. The company believes the games will be a complement to casino gambling and not a competitor. The goal is to allow players who may be intimidated in a casino or otherwise more comfortable in an online setting.

With millions of Americans who play some form of poker, the company is pledging to create the tools to protect players and regulate the gaming space.

“This is, for Nevada, a new day,” Reno gaming analyst Ken Adams told the Gazette-Journal. “There’s been a huge amount of speculation on what online gaming means. Estimates in New Jersey run from $20 (million) to $30 million to $2 (billion) to $3 billion. The only way to find out is when it starts. Up to now, we’ve been talking in theories. Now we’ll get a peek at reality.”

Breitling said casino poker generates just 1 percent of all gaming revenues in Nevada and that online gambling should only aid casino gambling.

“A lot of people want to play online and offline poker,” he said. “We think it will drive what we call poker tourism. People will come here to play online but might qualify for an offline tournament. We’re all about making poker fun again.”

Added CEO Tobin Prior: “At 4 o’clock in the afternoon, when you want a game, it is a lot easier to put those people together on the Internet than it is to do it in a physical environment. It is a logical way to grow the market.”

According to the Associated Press, Internet poker has been strictly outlawed since 2011, when the Department of Justice seized domain names of offshore sites catering to U.S. customers. AP says the crackdown was dubbed “black Friday” and left poker fanatics with two options: visit a card room, or break the law and log into offshore sites.

“I think the real excitement will be when we get a very populous state like a California or a New York allowing these companies to expand,” ITG casino analyst Matthew Jacob told the AP. “But these changes often take longer to occur than people assume. It requires a change in law and then it takes a while from when the law passes until the sites are up and running.”

(Pictured: Lorenzo Fertitta)

view original article >>

Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie Rankings, April 5: WSOF champ Branch keeps rolling

  • 29 days ago
  • 6 views

Since a brief run in the UFC, two-division WSOF champ David Branch has become one of the sport’s top fighters competing outside the octagon. Filed under: Bellator, MMA Rankings, News, UFC, WSOF read news >>

Video: Watch today's UFC Q&A with Barnett, Hardy and Cirkunov at 10:30 a.m. ET

  • 26 days ago
  • 10 views

ZAGREB, Croatia – Prior to today’s UFC Fight Night 86 fighter weigh-ins, you can watch a live fan Q&A with Josh Barnett, Dan Hardy and Misha Cirkunov here on MMAjunkie at 10:30 a.m. ET (7:30 a.m. PT) read news >>

'UFC Road to the Octagon: Teixeira vs. Evans' debuts today on FOX at 5 p.m. ET

  • 26 days ago
  • 9 views

Although UFC Fight Night 86 takes place Sunday, the organization returns just six days later with next weekend’s UFC on FOX 19 event.Filed under: News, UFC, Videos read news >>

UFC Statement on Viscardi Andrade

  • 23 days ago
  • 0 views

The UFC organization was notified today that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has informed Viscardi Andrade of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation stemming from an out-of-competition read news >>

USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie Rankings, April 12: A big, needed win for Junior Dos Santos

  • 22 days ago
  • 16 views

Don’t write off former heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos, who picked up a pivotal win over surging contender Ben Rothwell in UFC Fight Night 86’s headliner.Filed under: Bellator, MMA Rankings, N read news >>

UFC Statement on BJ Penn

  • 22 days ago
  • 2 views

UFC announced today that former UFC champion BJ Penn will return to competition on June 4 at UFC 199 against Dennis Siver in a featherweight bout. read news >>

UFC on FOX 19’s Khabib Nurmagomedov discusses why Tony Ferguson needs to shut up

  • 20 days ago
  • 72 views

TAMPA, Fla. – UFC lightweight contender Khabib Nurmagomedov today grew irritated and shut off questions about his would-be UFC on FOX 19 opponent, Tony Ferguson.Filed under: Featured Videos, News, UF read news >>

Watch today's UFC on FOX 19 weigh-ins live on MMAjunkie at 4:30 p.m. ET

  • 20 days ago
  • 8 views

TAMPA, Fla. – UFC on FOX 19 fighter weigh-ins take place today, and you can join us for a live video stream of the proceedings here on MMAjunkie beginning at 4:30 p.m. ET (1:30 p.m. PT).Filed under: read news >>

UFC on FOX 19 live and official weigh-in results

  • 20 days ago
  • 13 views

TAMPA, Fla. – UFC on FOX 19 fighter weigh-ins take place today, and you can join us for live text results here on MMAjunkie beginning at 4:30 p.m. ET (1:30 p.m. PT).Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

'ONE Championship 41: Global Rivals' live results

  • 20 days ago
  • 57 views

“ONE Championship 41: Global Rivals” takes place today, and you can join us for live results beginning at 8:30 a.m. ET (5:30 a.m. PT).Filed under: News read news >>