MGM Online Approved for Nevada Online Poker License

MGM Resorts International is one step closer to operating online poker in Nevada, receiving preliminary approval for a license today from the state’s Gaming Control Board.

A final license approval is expected later this month from the Nevada Gaming Commission.

But Jim Murren, the company’s CEO, wants to take online poker a step further. He said this week that he favors federal legislation for interstate poker.

“We feel strongly that if it is in fact state by state, the states themselves need to compact with one another to create a more viable business model,” Murren told Reuters. “Any one state going on its own presents an economic challenge, particularly in a small state like Nevada.”

Delaware legalized online poker earlier this year, and legislators in New Jersey are taking steps toward legalization.

A year ago, MGM and Boyd partnered with, the parent company of Party Poker, in anticipation of regulated online poker throughout the US.

An interstate compact would require federal legislation and the approval of Congress.

Sens. Harry Reid (D-NV) and Jon Kyl (R-AZ) have drafted a bill that would legalize online poker and assign its regulation to Nevada.

The official approval of MGM in the Silver State would increase the number of online poker licenses in Nevada to 12. Last month, Boyd Gaming, Golden Nugget and Fertitta Interactive joined that list. Other companies already licensed are: WMS Gaming Inc., American Casino & Entertainment Properties, Shuffle Master, International Game Technology, South Point Poker, Monarch Interactive, Bally Technologies, Global Cash Access.

It remains unclear when the first Nevada poker site will launch. South Point initially expected to start the action last month, but postponed their debut, citing negotiations with state officials and delays in testing.