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Nevada Gaming Board Chairman Says Online Poker Coming In 2012

The Nevada Gaming Commission will take an important vote for poker players in the state on Thursday. The Board will vote on a series of rules and regulations that have been crafted by the states Gaming Control Board. The rules could set the stage for regulated online poker by next year.

Chairman Mark Lipparelli predicted Wednesday that if the Gaming Commission approves of the rules, the online poker sites could be running before the end of next year. That would be a scenario that would be welcomed by thousands of gamblers in Nevada, and one that most likely would be duplicated in other states around the country.

"Online gambling is, and has been, coming to the US for years," said Gaming Analyst Steve Schwartz. "It comes as no surprise to anyone that it is Nevada that is leading the way into the Internet gambling era in the US, as they have been the pioneers to so many gaming innovations over the years. Once Nevada regulates online poker, it will only be a matter of time before dozens of states follow suit."

Despite Las Vegas Sands' CEO Sheldon Adelson's contention that there are not enough technological safeguards in place to properly regulate online gambling, Lipparelli and the Gaming Board is moving forward with their proposal to add online poker to the long list of legal casino games available in the state. Lipparelli does admit that strong oversight is needed.

Nevada may have an uphill battle even if the Commission approves the rules later today. The federal laws in the US still make it illegal to process online gambling transactions. Federal lawmakers are battling to overturn the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, and Nevada may have to wait until that is complete before they can open their online casinos.

In recent days, there have been reports of 888 Holdings, an International online gambling company, will apply for an online poker license in Nevada. The state is only offering the licenses to those companies already licensed in Nevada, so the foreign companies have started to partner with the Nevada-based gaming groups. It has been reported that 888 is entering into a partnership with Caesars Entertainment Corp.

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