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888.com Can Now Legally Offer Online Gambling in (Part) Of the U.S.

It's the first real, legal license.
You know what happens to Joe Pesci at the end, right? (Photo: Wikipedia)

You know what happens to Joe Pesci at the end, right? (Photo: Wikipedia)

The day where you can blow your paycheck playing poker over the Internet creeps ever closer! Fast Company reports that the Nevada Gaming Commission has issued U.K.-based online gambling company 888.com a license to act as an “interactive gaming service provider.” 

That means the company can, once more, run an online gambling business in the U.S.–legally this time, that is. 888 had to exit the market with other international operators when the feds closed old Internet gambling loopholes and began cracking down. Some states (including New York and New Jersey) have begun the long, slow process of legalizing the practice but this is the first official license secured by an Internet-only operator.

(Update, 2:40 p.m.) The Verge points out that 888 Holdings has a rather checkered past: “The International Gaming Affiliate Marketing Initiative (IGAMI) blacklisted 888 twice for “unethical affiliate practices including scraping and spamming” and “numerous instances of blog and forum spamming.” Another group, CasinoAffiliatePrograms, suspended 888’s certification in May 2006 and requested that the company take steps to curb spam.” But nowadays, the company’s spokesman says, they limited themselves to “very good targeted marketing.” Guess the good folks of Nevada will find out soon enough.

This might also herald a happy opportunity for beleaguered Zynga, which poached an exec from 888 Holdings last year in an attempt to get its own online gambling operatons off the ground.

Of course, the problem with this license is that it only gives 888 the opportunity to operate in Nevada. Why would you want to stay inside and gamble online when the bright lights of Las Vegas are right there?

Follow Kelly Faircloth on Twitter or via RSS. kfaircloth@observer.com