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Online Gambling News Roundup: April 2013

The online gambling industry kept things exciting in April with plenty of big news stories. Here’s a few of the igaming headlines that really mattered last month.
Nevada Launches US Online Poker
After months of discussion, licensing hearing and industry chatter, Ultimate Poker launched America’s first, legal, online poker site.
Though some critics say Nevada’s sparse population can’t support online poker, Ultimate Poker’s owners (who also own a chunk of the Station Casinos and manage the UFC) are feeling confident.
It’s one small step for Nevada and one giant leap for the American gambling industry.
Ray Bitar Takes a Plea
Online poker’s most wanted man, former Full Tilt Poker CEO Ray Bitar, ended his long legal saga by entering a guilty plea on several felony charges.
Bitar’s poor health, and need for a heart transplant, influenced the court to show some mercy and allow him to take a plea. He’ll walk away a free man, though he’ll be $40 million in cash and properties lighter – and could be dead in a year without a new heart.
California Talks Sports Betting
Golden State horse racing establishments are looking to get on the legal sports betting bandwagon, they just don’t want to do any of the heavy lifting.
A bill introduced this month in the California state legislature would clear the way for horse racing tracks to offer sports wagering, should the national ban ever be lifted.
Just to be clear, California lawmakers have no interest in actually fighting the sports betting ban themselves, they just want to be ready to take advantage of the work done by New Jersey lawyers.
Speaking of New Jersey
A different kind of legal fight in the Garden State gambling world between the American Gaming Association and PokerStars took an interesting turn at the end of the month.
It looks as though Pokerstars is backing off its attempt at purchasing the Atlantic Club Casino in Atlantic City. The move would have put the poker giant square in the middle of the US market, but AGA lawyers cried, “foul,” citing the company’s sketchy post-Black Friday record.
Pokerstars missed an important licensing deadline on April 30, leaving gambling industry watchers wondering if the poker giant’s American dreams were dead in the water.
Nevada Eyes Sports Betting Expansion
In Nevada, State legislators voted to expand sports betting to equity groups and syndicates. This move won’t impact everyday punters, but could have a big impact on some big money players.
If betting syndicates can operate openly in legal Nevada sportsbooks, they might not spread their bets across online betting sites.
That said, there’s no telling how many syndicates, or equity groups, will be interested in going through the stringent Nevada licensing process required for registered entities.
More than anything, this story shows how Nevada is looking to expand and shore up their sports betting market, just in case New Jersey wins its fight to overturn the Federal sports betting ban.
 What gambling industry news stories are you watching? Share you thoughts in the comments section below.