UltimatePoker.com will deal the first hand at noon ET to in-state gamblers in what its operators, as well as industry observers, see as a watershed moment for gaming.
“This is, for Nevada, a new day,” said Reno gaming analyst Ken Adams. Ultimate Poker is a subsidiary of Station Casinos LLC of Las Vegas, which operates 16 locals-oriented casinos throughout Southern Nevada and touts itself as the nation’s first provider of legal, secure online poker.
Nevada broke from the pack in February with fast-tracked legislation authorizing online poker, and Ultimate Poker is setting the pace after final approval from gaming regulators earlier this month for a 30-day field trial starting Tuesday.
“Being the first is a big deal. It’s important for Nevada. Nevada is the first to go live,” said Tom Breitling, chairman of Ultimate Poker.
Added CEO Tobin Prior, “We have a lot to learn, but everybody’s talking about it. Lots of people are dealing poker in an unregulated environment. This is the first step for the proper, legitimate environment.”
Online poker will be available 24/7, but there are restrictions. Players must be at least 21 years old and physically within the state’s boundaries to play, two rules which Breitling is confident his company’s “complicated and sophisticated” software can police.
And so far, only online poker will be played — with bets as little as a penny — on personal computers from accounts funded by MasterCard, checks, wire transfers or person-to-person at any Station casino.