Three Companies Receive Nevada Interactive Gaming Licenses
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Three Las Vegas-based gaming firms – Boyd Gaming, Fertitta Interactive LLC, and Golden Nugget – were granted interactive gaming licenses by the Nevada Gaming Commission last week, allowing them to provide intrastate online poker in Nevada.
Boyd Gaming was the first of the three, receiving the thumbs-up on Thursday. The company owns 17 properties in the United States, including The Orleans, Gold Coast, and Suncoast casinos in Las Vegas, the IP Casino Resort Spa in Biloxi, Mississippi, and the Borgata in Atlantic City. In October 2011, Boyd partnered with online gambling giant bwin.party and rival MGM Resorts International to create a new company to offer online poker. bwin.party controls the bulk of the organization – 65 percent – while MGM owns 25 percent and Boyd Gaming owns 10 percent.
Boyd, as might be apparent, will use the bwin.party online poker platform, but cannot launch its poker room until the operator of Party Poker also receives a license from the Nevada Gaming Commission. Both bwin.party and MGM have applied for licenses, but have not met with regulators yet.
Though the license permits Boyd to offer online poker to customers within Nevada’s borders, Kevin Smith, CEO of Boyd, told Marketwatch last year that his company would prefer regulation on the federal level. “We believe that the right approach to offering legal online poker in the United States is through a federal regulatory structure that ensures the games are conducted with the greatest possible integrity and security,” he said.
Shortly after Boyd Gaming was knighted, the Nevada Gaming Commission granted a license to Fertitta Interactive LLC. Fertitta already operates Ultimate Poker, a free-to-play poker game on Facebook, and will now look to transition into the real money space. Ultimate Poker was developed last year after Fertitta acquired gaming company CyberArts Licensing LLC. Fertitta Interactive is a division of Fertitta Entertainment, which owns the Station Casinos and UFC.
Said Tom Breitling, chairman of Ultimate Gaming, “With our unique ability to leverage the overlapping demographics between online gaming, traditional gaming and the worldwide sports and entertainment brand of the UFC, Ultimate Gaming is ideally positioned to rapidly capture a significant following in the United States and throughout the globe.”
Also that same day, Golden Nugget received its license. Bally Technologies, which both received a license and partnered with Golden Nugget in June, will provide the software for the upcoming poker offering. The two already paired up earlier this year to launch a free poker room, GoldenNuggetPoker.com
It remains to be seen which, if any, of the three new licensees will be the first to launch an intrastate online poker room in Nevada. South Point Poker LLC originally believed it was on track to be the vanguard by launching its poker room this month, but slower than expected independent testing has pushed back the go-live date to later this year. Because Fertitta and Golden Nugget already have free money poker rooms running, they could very well be ready to go soon for their real money offerings. Boyd still has to wait for bwin.party’s license, though with the online gaming giant’s experience, the joint company could get something launched quickly once the license is granted. (Poker News Daily)
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