The Feritta brothers, ready for action.

Today is launch day for Ultimate Poker, the first legal online poker site in the United States. It’s a huge step forward for the American gambling industry and a major coup for Ultimate’s parent company Feritta Interactive.

Ferrita Interative entered the Nevada poker race early and has been through a marathon licensing and testing process to get to this day.

Some critics have suggested that Nevada’s population, less than 3 million, is too small to support intrastate online poker. That makes Ultimate Poker a  big risk for brothers Lorenzo and Frank Ferrita, who also own 45% of Station Casinos, but they’ve got a few aces up their sleeves.

The Ferrita’s also manage the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and plan to leverage that connection to help shore up business. Given the overlapping demographics of the UFC and online poker, 21-25-year-old males. For a first-to-market site, that could be a very good deal indeed.

More importantly, for gambling affiliates, Ultimate Poker inked an affiliate marketing deal with Income Access earlier this month. As of this writing, details of the program are still being worked out.

The significance of Ultimate’s launch isn’t lost on anyone in the gambling industry, least of all the company’s CEO Tobin Prior who said:

We like to think of it as the day that trust returns to online gambling in the US. Now you can visit a site and be fully certain that your money is safe and that you’re dealing with people you trust.

As it stands today, any player can deposit funds on Ultimate Poker, but they must be physically in Nevada to actually play real money poker.

Do you think Nevada can support a thriving online poker industry? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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