The United States’ first fully legal online poker site launched on Tuesday. There is, however, one big catch: Gameplay is limited to those who are physically present within the state of Nevada.
Naturally, this might bring to mind one word: Tor (or any other proxy server software that can spoof your location).
However, don’t get your hopes up. While both the site and Nevada state regulators are staying mum on their procedures, state regulators said that the method used to determine a player’s location will be far more extensive than simple IP-based geo-location.
Although the measures being taken are still hush-hush, Chris Derossi, Ultimate Poker’s CTO gave a clue when he said that all players must have a mobile device that can be traced through mobile networks. That alone would halt IP spoofing.
It’s possible, anyway, that players in other states won’t have to wait long for online gambling to reach their borders. After the 2011 “Black Friday” that took down PokerStars and other sites, a court of appeals overturned the Federal Wire Act law that banned states from legitimizing online gambling for the use of their own residents. Nevada (as you might expect) was the first jump on the bandwagon.
Earlier this year, Nevada’s governor signed a bill into law, authorizing online gambling for Nevada residents. Both New Jersey and Delaware now also have similar laws on their books, but Nevada is the first state to go live with an authorized online gambling site.
Ultimate Poker Chairman Tom Breitling said Monday:
This is an important day for the gaming industry. We’re the first, not only in Nevada but in America, to offer real money poker in a regulated environment.
A.G. Burnett, the chair of the Nevada State Gaming Control Board, said:
Nevada is now the first state to accept legal, regulated interactive wagers. It’s a big day and I’m proud of the state.
High stakes pokers players, however, say that poker games isolated to a single state are too small to attract the big players. The only way such gamblers would opt for online gaming, Matthew Stout, one of the top-ranked poker players worldwide said, would be if the states pooled their resources in a manner similar to multi-state lotteries such as Powerball and Mega Millions. He said:
Think of it like the Mega Millions and other multi-state lottery programs. They’d never be able to boast these gigantic nine-figure jackpots if they had to keep all lotteries intrastate. Likewise, there won’t be enough money for tournament players to win until the prize pools are large enough.