At Least Two More Nevada Online Poker Sites To Launch This Year
Caesars And Treasure Island Expect Products By The End Of Summer
Real-money online poker came to Nevada in late April, which was the first time the virtual game had been licensed and regulated by a jurisdiction in the United States.
Now, the clock is ticking for other firms to join Ultimate Poker, an offshoot of Station Casinos, in the marketplace.
Nevada legalized online poker in the summer of 2011, and regulators were deliberate in drafting regulations for the fledgling industry over the following months. The rules were adopted in December 2011, but it was also a slow process of licensing firms and testing their respective technologies.
Despite being the global leader in the casino world, Nevada had never been tasked with making sure casino games could work on the web.
Ultimate Poker was one of Nevada’s early Internet gambling licensees and beat out its rivals, one which, at one point, appeared to have a head start.
Last year, South Point Poker garnished a fair amount of media attention, claiming it was aiming to be first to the Nevada marketplace and was developing in-house software. South Point didn’t return a request for comment on its current timeline for launching real-money games. It has a free-play client right now.
While the attention has been focused on Ultimate Poker’s launch, Caesars Entertainment Corp., through its online gaming division Caesars Interactive Entertainment, is nearing release of its product.
The company said it plans to launch a World Series of Poker branded platform sometime this summer. The Nevada casino giant has a deal with online poker site 888 for the back end technology.
The World Series said that it just doesn’t know if the real-money games will be here in time for online satellites to the $10,000 buy-in main event starting in early July.
Like Caesars, Nevada’s Treasure Island casino also looks to debut real-money games soon. A spokesperson for Treasure Island told Card Player Wednesday that it plans to be operational by the end of the summer. The casino will also partner with 888.
Treasure Island was purchased by casino mogul Phil Ruffin in 2008 at the height of the financial crisis. He paid MGM for $775 million for the property.
MGM Resorts International, which has a partnership with Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment and Boyd Gaming Corp., told Card Player that it “remains enthusiastic about an online poker product, but we have not yet announced a launch date as we are still evaluating the marketplace.” MGM has made a move to get involved with a New Jersey online gambling industry, so perhaps its focus is more with the possibilities in the Garden State.
Another casino giant that has expressed interest in Nevada online poker but has remained quiet on the issue is Wynn Resorts. The company didn’t return a request for comment on its online poker plans in the Silver State. It doesn’t have a partner yet, though there have been reports that one possible alliance would be with California-based Zynga.
The Golden Nugget, located in Downtown Las Vegas, has a free-play poker product currently running, but hasn’t made the switch to real-money offerings yet. The company said Wednesday that it doesn’t have a date for when it will launch real-money games.
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