Far ahead of the pack as the first state in line to provide online poker to its residents, Nevada made further progress Wednesday when the Gaming Control Board approved an Internet poker license for Bally Technologies.
That is but the first step in the licensing process, as the Nevada Gaming Commission will take the control board’s recommendation under advisement when it considers the matter on June 21. If the commission rules favorably as well, Bally will go down in U.S. gaming history as the first company to be granted an online poker license if it passes the software testing process established by Nevada gaming officials.
Just a few months ago, Bally purchased Chiligaming to prepare for the eventuality of online poker legalization in the U.S. In order to operate online poker in the Silver State, Bally must partner with an existing land-based Nevada casino. Those details have already been ironed out when Chiligaming entered into a partnership agreement with Golden Nugget Casino just weeks prior to the acquisition by Bally. The new partners are already running a free-play site that is expected to include real money wagering once licensed Nevada online poker sites are given the green light to do so.
Nevada set Bally’s license fee at $125,000, but that amount may be reduced after a hearing by the Nevada Gaming Policy Committee. As it stands, that amount is a far cry from California’s $30 million fee for an online poker license that is being proposed in an amended online poker bill set to be heard by a Senate committee on June 12 in the Golden State.
The next license applicant set to face the Nevada Gaming Control Board is International Game Technology, whose approval is believed by many to be a mere formality.