The Ultimate Poker logo has enjoyed prime placement in the UFC fight octagon for months. The Ultimate Poker Facebook page, which steers fans to a zero-stakes version of the site, features a mix of UFC glamour shots and stock images of guys in hoodies staring into laptop screens.
"When you look at the demographic of the UFC fan and the online poker player, it's almost a perfect overlap," Breitling said.
In the coming months, Ultimate Gaming will have to prove that its technology and 111 employees can prevent minors and out-of-state players from wagering real dollars, and guard against money laundering.
It will also have to pay 6.75 percent of its revenue in Nevada state taxes.
It's unclear how much of a boon the new market will be to the cash-strapped state. In 2012, the Pew Center on the States analyzed 13 states that had recently legalized new types of gambling, and found that more than two-thirds of "failed to live up to the initial promises or projections."
The gambling industry is hoping the return of Internet poker will revitalize interest in the game and help brick and mortar casinos capture a younger market.
The rise of Internet poker is generally credited with helping spark the poker fad of the last decade. The end of online gambling is thought to have helped quash interest in the game.
In the coming months, the industry will be watching closely to see if poker players come flocking back from their new hobbies, replacement computer games and illegal offshore gambling sites.
"This is a really huge moment for our company, the state of Nevada and the gaming community," Breitling said. "We're hoping to make poker fun again."
Hannah Dreier can be reached at http://twitter.com/hannahdreier
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