Though the hype and drama of the 2012 election has drowned out much of the news in the gaming world, progress continues to be made in the United States towards a licensed, taxed, and regulated online gambling industry. More than 3 dozen gambling companies from the United States and around the world have successfully applied for Nevada’s first online poker licenses.

Businesses applying for permission to run live online poker sites in Nevada are vetted much like any other group looking to start a gambling operation in Las Vegas: tax records, background checks, and proper financing standards must all be met before the Nevada Gaming Commission allows any firm to open shop. The Fertitta Brothers, William Hill, and many other high profile gambling companies have already secured licensing, waiting for the green light to turn up their servers.

To be clear, once these companies do shuffle up and deal, it will be for Nevada only, similar to efforts to legalize sports betting in New Jersey for residents of that state. Obviously the competition will be fierce for the limited number of customers in Nevada’s online poker market, however it will be the players that benefit in the long run: no longer will they have to contend with sketchy offshore poker companies slow paying them or rejecting their credit card deposits. With legal United States businesses running the show, payouts and deposits will be near instant, as if you were turning in your chips at the casino cage in person.

Won’t most of these companies go out of business given they’re only allowed to accept Nevadans? If we were to wager on it, we’d be on the “no” side. Many of the companies with online poker licenses for Nevada are multi-billion dollar enterprises. Money is no issue for them. In fact, we think the newly grown online poker arm of these businesses will initially blossom and then flat line. This will likely play out over the next 5 years. The two things that will explode this newly minted industry are the following: 1) Nevada legalizes standard online casino games (slots, craps, baccarat, blackjack, etc) and/or sports betting thereby opening up the reach to non-poker players or 2) Online poker is legalized at the Federal level, and Nevada will be allowed to accept customers from around the nation. If the latter of these two alternatives occurs, the effort to get a Nevada online poker license and brand new website launched will have been well worth the trouble.

Accepting customers from ALL 50 states would put Las Vegas in your living room.

Online casino players: don’t hold your breath. The only reason online poker is on the table is because it has been argued in Nevada court that it is mostly a skill game. Like the legalization of any vice activity, once one state does it, others will follow suit; especially if it means more money for the treasury. Undoubtedly, once major Nevada online poker companies prove that their industry has potential, politicians will start to lineup behind legalized online casino games legislative efforts. Then, it will only be a matter of time before sports betting follows, plus the Holy Grail of marketing to players nationwide.

For now, peruse our list of outstanding online gaming websites accepting players from around the world, including the USA!