Progress continues to be made in the up-and-coming U.S. online poker industry as Nevada gaming officials rubber-stamped two additional companies to operate Internet poker in the Silver State.
The Nevada Gaming Commission approved American Casino & Entertainment Properties (ACEP) and WMS Gaming Inc. on Thursday. ACEP owns and operates a number of casinos, including Arizona Charlie’s, Aquarius, and Stratosphere Hotel Casino and Tower, and received a license as an operator, a category reserved for brick and mortar casinos. WMS obtained licensing in the manufacturing category and a recent collaboration with 888 Holdings means the tandem will now seek a Nevada casino to forge ahead with an online poker site.
WMS and ACEP now join Bally Technologies, International Game Technology, Shuffle Master, South Point Poker, Global Cash Access Holdings, and Monarch Interactive as companies that have received Internet poker licenses in Nevada. South Point Casino is well ahead of the pack in the testing requirement phase of the process and hopes to be online as early as next month.
In addition to the licenses awarded to ACEP and WMS, the gaming commission also approved the first license for an online poker marketing affiliate. PokerTrip Enterprises received a marketing license allowing the Las Vegas-based company to promote Internet poker rooms to players residing in or visiting Nevada. Its fully anticipated that other companies will follow PokerTrip Enterprises in becoming licensed in the lucrative industry of affiliate marketing.
All told, about three dozen applications for online poker licenses have been received by Nevada gaming officials thus far in the various categories of operator, manufacturer or service provider. The latest applicant is Vintage Vegas Gaming, which operates Binion’s Gambling Hall & Hotel in downtown Las Vegas. Binion’s casino was the home of the World Series of Poker from its inception in 1970 through 2004, until it was purchased by Harrah’s Entertainment–now known as Caesars Entertainment. The casino was again sold in 2008 to Vintage Vegas Gaming, but the rights of the WSOP brand have been retained by Caesars Entertainment. Vintage Vegas Gaming has applied for a license in all three categories.