|Nevada has become
the first US state to allow residents to play poker online for money.
Online poker was legalised in
the state in February. And states across the US, probably starting with New
Jersey and Delaware, look likely to follow suit.
The Nevada Gaming
Control Board has issued a 30-day licence to allow websites to compete for
customers, with UltimatePoker.com the first to go live.
Online gambling is expected to generate billions
of dollars for US authorities.
Each year an estimated 10 million Americans play online poker, but
the sites are currently based offshore, meaning state and federal authorities
make no money from them.
Internet gambling was banned by Congress in
2006, but states across the US now hope to relax the rules.
terms of the Nevada licence, players must be at least 21 years old and
residents of the state. Initially, only online poker will be played.
UltimatePoker is a subsidiary of Station Casinos, which operates 16
casinos across Las Vegas.
US group Stop Predatory Gambling has said the
alliance between government and the gambling industry is "actively encouraging
people to lose money".
The UK is often cited as a leader in gambling
regulation. Online sites are required to verify identities and link and provide
support to help services for addicts.
Butt there has been a big
increase in the number gambling addicts in the UK, where online betting is a
In 2010, research from the Gambling Commission
estimated there were 450,000 problem gamblers in the UK, with an average debt
of £17,500, 200,000 more than in 2007.
Systems, based in the Isle of Man, created the world's first online casino 20