Only a week after New Jersey Governor Chris Christie vetoed an online poker bill, his republican counterpart from Nevada signed one into law. Governor Brian Sandoval’s gesture makes Nevada the first state to legalise online poker and keeps the Silver State the number one in gambling as stated by Senate Minority Leader Michael Roberson.
The race between New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada remained tight but the latter state emerged victorious and will be the first to implement a nationwide framework for online wagering. The bill signed by Brian Sandoval will allow the state to enter into bilateral agreements with other states so that Nevada based gambling operators could serve players from other states. For the time being, only Nevada residents will benefit from these services as some companies have already been granted licenses.
Those companies who benefit from this measure saw their shares rising dramatically, with Zynga Inc. being the main beneficiary with a boost of 7.4%. The company hopes to offset a recent decline in revenue from its popular game FarmVille, while other important players such as Wynn Resorts and MGM Resorts expect to benefit from this legislative change.
Assembly Majority Leader William Horne proposed the $500,000 licensing fee to be doubled, but eventually a compromise was struck. The licensing fee will be kept at its current value but the Nevada Gaming Commission can increase it to $1 million for certain operators. On the flip side, the minimum fee has been lowered to $150,000 which means that smaller players can also enter the new market and make it more competitive. Renewing the license will set operators back $250,000.
Online poker is the first game to be made available for Nevada residents and players from other states, with the infrastructure expected to accommodate other interactive games. So far, six companies have licensed to do this in Nevada and William Horne expects their number to grow rapidly. The state depends on the money spent here by tourists and it is yet uncertain how much revenue the deals with other states will generate.
The benefits of such online gambling bills are obvious for those who look at them from an accountant’s perspective as they will boost the states’ budget. Worldwide, the gambling industry generated more than $5 billion and many U.S states could benefit from receiving a small percentage of this amount. The stakes couldn’t be higher and now that Nevada has opened the door, it is very likely for other states to walk in its footsteps and legalise online gambling.