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Following years of opposition to the legalization of online poker in the United States, Las Vegas-based Wynn Resorts has announced a partnership with PokerStars.

“After much study,” says CEO Steve Wynn, “we are convinced that the lack of regulation of Internet gaming within the U.S. must change. We must recognize that this activity is occurring and that law enforcement does not have the tools to stop it. As a company that has safely conducted gaming in the U.S. for more than 40 years, we believe that the same can be done for poker on the Internet.”

This shocking turn of fortune has sent reverberations through the poker community, some members of which are still recovering from the failed legislation efforts of 2010. But now, thanks to the addition of their major backer, the gaming populace is beginning to pick up steam.

PokerStars chairman and founder Mark Scheinberg had a simple statement on the matter, comparing this new partnership to that featured in several European nations:

“(PokerStars) has been endorsing the adoption of the same approach in the United States for years, with this alliance representing a critical step in that direction…We are excited about the opportunities that partnering with Wynn, a pioneering leader and innovator in gaming, will present for PokerStars in the United States.”

So beyond all the posturing and legal gobbledegook, what does this new pairing mean for today’s online poker players? Right now, not much. But, several years into the future, when we look back on the early days of the “Legalize Online Poker” movement, this could be a pivot point in the history of the internet game. By securing the help of one of Vegas’ premier gaming establishments, the world’s biggest poker site now has a major dancing partner in the fight for federal regulation. With Wynn in their corner, Washington bureaucrats will be forced to take a hard look at the nation’s current gaming policies.

Stay tuned for more news on this topic, including a possible preview of the proposed