PartyPoker Parent One Step Closer To U.S. Return
Boyd Interactive Gaming Snags Nevada Web Poker License Thursday
At Thursday’s Gaming Commission hearing in Las Vegas, Boyd Interactive Gaming, which plans on utilizing the software of bwin.party digital entertainment, formally snagged a license to operate online poker in the state of Nevada.
About a year ago, Boyd Gaming Corp. inked a deal, along with MGM Resorts International, to jump into the online gaming business through a partnership with the parent company of PartyPoker, once a dominant American-facing operator.
“We knew we didn’t want to write code or write a big check to buy an Internet gaming company,” the new licensee told regulators Thursday. In other words, it didn’t want to develop in-house software or takeover an existing technology firm like others have done. It “interviewed” 18 different possible partners before deciding on bwin.party.
Boyd Gaming called bwin.party the “second largest poker network in the world.”
A previous version of the United Kingdom-based firm left the American market after the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, while PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker stayed around. The latter two eventually fell into boiling water with the feds, while PartyGaming avoided a comparable scandal. Although trailing far behind PokerStars in terms of players these days, bwin.party is still one of the dominant players in the web poker industry.
The parent company of Boyd Interactive Gaming owns numerous properties in Las Vegas, such as Fremont Hotel and Casino, Gold Coast, Orleans Hotel and Casino. Boyd Gaming Corp. also has interests in other states, including Borgata in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Boyd Gaming won’t offer games until bwin.party also is licensed in Nevada. Bwin.party has applied, but hasn’t had a public hearing yet.
Bwin.party also owns the World Poker Tour brand.
Nevada’s online poker, which is viewed by many in the industry as the gateway to other forms of web gambling, is only for residents and people visiting the state.
Boyd said Thursday that it looks for the opportunity to offer other games — whenever they become authorized by regulators. Some in Congress are trying to pass a web poker-only bill.
It has been estimated that Silver State firms will be able to capture $100-$180 million annually in intrastate online poker revenue — which would be about the same as the money generated from live poker tables, Boyd Gaming said Thursday.
Follow Brian Pempus on Twitter — @brianpempus
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