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UFC owners launch America's 'first legal' online poker site

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Online gambling has returned to the US with the launch of the first legal, real money poker site. Earlier today, gambling company Ultimate Gaming opened its virtual doors to the citizens of Nevada, offering them the chance to legally play poker online for the first time in more than two years. Today's launch comes just two months after state regulators passed a bill allowing Nevada citizens to play across borders without the need for federal gambling legislation.

To register, you'll need to be over 21, have a social security number, and a Nevada address

The site, Ultimate Poker, is owned by entrepreneurial casino siblings Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta. The Fertitta brothers have a long history in the casino business, but they also own majority shares in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), and have promoted the Ultimate Poker logo in UFC rings in an effort to drive visitors to the website. Ultimate Poker will soon be joined by a number of other online gambling companies, including 888 — a Gibraltar-based company that hasn't operated online casinos or poker rooms in the US since 2006 — which became the first online casino to get a US gambling license after Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey took the first steps to legalize internet gambling.

After the federal government indicted PokerStars (and its competitor Full Tilt Poker) on "Black Friday" over charges of money laundering, bribery, and miscoding transactions in April 2011, sites like Ultimate Poker have worked to incorporate new legislation to protect customers from similar issues in the future. If consumer demand for online poker increases, it could bring back the high-profile poker players that left the US when online poker sites were outlawed.