June 21 Slot machine makers International Game
Technology and Bally Technologies Inc said they
have been granted online gaming licenses in Nevada, paving the
way for the companies to grab market share when U.S. internet
gambling laws are relaxed.
The U.S. Justice Department last year declared that only
online betting on sporting contests is unlawful, which experts
say will allow states to unilaterally legalize some forms of
online gambling in 2012, from lotteries to poker.
IGT and Bally said in separate statements that the licenses
would allow them to partner with Nevada's casinos to provide
online poker and other interactive games through their machines.
Consulting firm H2 Gambling Capital has forecast that
Internet betting operators will win more than $35 billion
globally from gamblers this year. It estimates that for online
poker, just 37 percent of an estimated 2011 total of nearly $5
billion took place within regulated markets.