Nevada gaming officials continue the process of considering online poker license applicants for the first intrastate internet poker scheme in the U.S. with Golden Nugget, Fertitta Interactive and Boyd Gaming next in line to appear before the Nevada Gaming Control Board this week.
The suitability hearings are expected to be a mere formality as all three companies have a well-known presence in the Silver State. Boyd Gaming operates nearly a dozen casinos in Nevada including the Eldorado Casino and the Sun Coast Hotel and Casino. The company has also branched out its casino operations into other states such as Louisiana and Mississippi. Boyd has applied for licensing in both the service provider and operator categories and has previously entered into a partnership agreement with BP Gaming Entertainment, a subsidiary of Bwin.party.
The Golden Nugget is the largest casino in the downtown area and has been a mainstay of Las Vegas for decades, originally built in 1946. The casino already runs a free-play online poker site at goldennuggetpoker.com. Seeking licensure as an operator, Golden Nugget has inked a deal with Bally Technologies to provide Internet poker to Nevada residents and tourists. Bally has the distinction of being the first company to receive license approval from Nevada gaming officials just a couple of months ago.
Fertitta Interactive owns a considerable share in Station Casinos and has applied for licensing in the service provider category with a goal of offering online poker under the brand of Ultimate Gaming. In the fall of last year, Fertitta acquired CyberArts Licensing, a software provider of online games.
The three license applicants up for hearings this week hope to join eight other licensees that have already been rubber-stamped by gaming officials. American Casino & Entertainment Properties (ACEP) and WMS Gaming were the most recent entities granted approval last month. The other green-lighted companies preparing to offer Internet poker services in Nevada are Shuffle Master, South Point Poker, International Game Technology, Global Cash Access Holdings, Monarch Interactive, and the previously mentioned Bally Technologies.
South Point is well ahead of the pack in terms of testing requirements and is expected to turn on the virtual switch for real-money online poker sometime this fall.