Online gambling for real money was banned in 2011 in the U.S. but a U.S. appeals court overturned the federal law that banned states from offering online gambling within state borders to residents. Since then, the race has been on.
Real-money gambling went live in the U.K. earlier this month as Zynga Inc. (NASDAQ: ZNGA) and partner Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment, which is owned by Boyd Gaming Corp. (NYSE: BYD), launched two real-money games.
The real money in the U.S., of course, is not in Nevada or even more populous New Jersey, but in being able to offer real-money gambling across the country. But Nevada, and its 3 million people, could be a proving ground for other online casino games from Boyd, International Game Technology (NYSE: IGT), Bally Technologies Inc. (NYSE: BYI), and Shuffle Master Inc. (NASDAQ: SHFL), all of which already have been granted Nevada licenses to offer real-money online games and Ceasars Entertainment Corp. (NASDAQ: CZR) and MGM Resorts International Inc. (NYSE: MGM), both of which have also applied.
Of the other contenders, Ceasars is thought to have the inside track with its widely recognized “World Series of Poker” franchise.