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Online Poker Could Start In The US With South Point Casino

The wave of momentum that began on Monday with the announcement that online casino games such as poker, blackjack, craps, and roulette, are not illegal under the 1961 Wire Act, continued on Tuesday when reports surfaced that the South Point Hotel & Casino may be on their way to opening the first regulated online poker room in the US.

The casino has applied, along with five other companies, have applied already for online gaming licenses in Nevada. Last week, the Nevada Gaming Commission approved the rules governing the licensing of online casinos, and this week's opinion from the legal arm of the Department of Justice opened the door for that licensing to begin.

Rick Kulis, the Vice President of Internet Gaming for the South Point Casino, expressed cautious optimism when he spoke to CardPlayer magazine about the prospects of becoming the first US online poker site regulated in the country.

"On the one side you have to make sure you get it right from the beginning," said Kulis. "You want your players to sign up and play, and have loyalty and continue playing. But also, from a brand recognition perspective, it's the same argument we have regarding who was the first in paid TV, HBO, who was the first to do a photocopy, Zerox. Those names stick. You want to break through early so you don't have to catch up with a lot of noise in the market place and differentiate yourself."

Being first is not always the best way to go. The first online poker sites in the US will come with an intense amount of scrutiny from both local and federal oversight groups. With the opinion that technology does not exist to keep underage gamblers out, anti-online gaming groups will be out to prove their theory with the first few online casinos that are operational.

South Point is well ahead of the learning curve that other online poker sites will have to experience. The casino already has an open, free, online poker site running. The site has received mixed reviews from players, most of which were accustomed to the sharp design and smooth operation of Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars.

The two International companies lost the ability to operate in the US when their executives were indicted in April for fraud. The companies were accused by the US Department of Justice of deceiving US banks into processing online gambling transactions. The processing of Internet gaming transactions was made illegal in 2006 by the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.

Foreign companies such as PokerStars, 888 Holdings, and Bwin may attempt to enter the US market after the opinion revealed on Monday. The International companies have been working on partnerships with US-based gaming companies in recent months, in preparation of the US laws changing. The opinion, however, may have expedited the plans of many of these companies, who will be looking to move into what is considered the top online gambling market in the world.

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