888 was given the first ever operators license to be able to offer online gambling in the state of Nevada. It's taken a while for things to get moving but now it looks like that they could be dealing virtual cards as early as May this year. There's been plenty of discussion as to which state will be the first to go live with online poker and it appears the honor will indeed go to Nevada and 888. The initial tax revenue that will be created from this new venture will indeed be very limited due to the restrictions on Nevada's online gambling rules however the hope is that this is the first step in a wider and regulated US market. 888 Chief Executive Brian Mattingley said that, "This is an historic moment for 888. This is the first time a company uniquely providing online gaming has been licensed by any U.S. jurisdiction." 888 has already signed a deal with Las Vegas operator Treasure Island and this partnership should form the basis for the first cards to be dealt. Maybe the bigger deal however is the non exclusive deal that it has with Caesar's to provide the infrastructure for Caesar's World Series of Poker online, and there's also a deal with WMS, the slot machine operator.
How Things Change
This is all a far cry from just a short time ago when many of the larger casino owners and operators saw online gambling as the worst possible thing that could happen in the state of Nevada and indeed in the US in general. The belief was that with more people playing online poker, slots and table games then the bricks and mortar industry would suffer massively. Things have changed however and now the large brands in Vegas are jumping at the chance to sign deals with online providers in the hope of becoming a part of it all. With the changing legal landscape in the US these giants of the offline industry are showing some awareness in the fact that online gambling will only grow and it does in fact help land based casinos. It helps to expand their brand to a much wider audience, opens new revenue streams and more.