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South Point Casino Gunning to Have Nevada's First Operational Internet Poker Site

VP of Internet Gaming said company 'well down the road' toward a license


South Point Hotel & CasinoSouth Point Hotel & Casino is looking to have Nevada’s first intrastate real-money online poker site, said Rick Kulis, the company’s Vice President of Internet Gaming.

According to Kulis, South Point Poker, which already exists as a free poker site, is “well down the road” toward obtaining a license to operate.

So far, six entities have applied to participate in the upcoming industry. Like South Point Poker, 888 Holdings — a foreign-based site with an existing relationship with Caesars Entertainment — submitted paperwork in October.

“We hope to move into real-money play as soon as our license is granted,” Kulis added. However, he couldn’t speculate as to which month in 2012 it would happen.

Kulis admitted that being first is a double-edged sword.

“On the one side you have to make sure you get it right from the beginning. You want your players to sign up and play, and have loyalty and continue playing. But also, from a brand-recognition perspective, it’s the same argument we have regarding who was the first in paid TV — HBO, who was the first do a photocopy — Xerox. Those names stick. You want to break through early so you don’t have to catch up with a lot of noise in the market place and differentiate yourself.”

South Point started to prepare for its Internet business about five months ago — right after Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval signed Assembly Bill 258 into law.

Since the summer, Nevada has drafted and finalized regulations for the intrastate industry. The Gaming Commission’s historic decision on Dec. 22 was widely applauded by the casino industry, and put Nevada one step closer to a regulated web poker market.

Just a day later, a surprise move by the U.S. Justice Department clarified the Interstate Wire Act of 1961 to apply only to sports betting. The new position makes an intrastate industry home free and gives Nevada a potential play into eventually offering web poker interstate, according to a handful of Nevada’s top gaming attorneys.

Nevada regulators have consistently said that brick-and-mortars with their own technology will likely move through the licensing phase quicker. Sites that are new to the Silver State and need to partner up with a local gaming company will fall under more scrutiny.

South Point made a business decision based on that fact.

Rick Kulis. Credit:“It became obvious early on that the licensees with their own software that hadn’t been tainted by any previous exposure to the U.S. market was probably going to be the best way to go,” Kulis said. “Also, there was the whole question as to whether you want to be a part of a network or whether you want to have your own software so you can adapt quickly as the market changes. It’s obvious that someone who has their own software has that flexibility to immediately respond.”

This means, according to Kulis, South Point Poker can “migrate” to any legally available jurisdictions with less hiccups than its competitors.

“Nevada has really put this whole issue at the forefront,” Kulis added. “Now that they have adopted the regulations, it gives anybody in the state a chance to get their operations up and wait for whatever the federal solution may be when it comes — if it comes. From there you have various opportunities to do some kind of interaction between states. Nevada has put online poker on the map finally in the United States.”

In an intrastate introduction to online poker, the player pool would be limited to residents and visitors. Kulis said that there would be enough liquidity under such a model, but that Nevada would love to have a state like California “come on board.”

South Point Poker has been successful at attracting players so far, Kulis said. The platform joined up with Zen Gaming as an “intermediate step” to build its brand before gearing up to do Internet poker business independently.

Follow Brian Pempus on Twitter — @brianpempus



almost 10 years ago

Their online site and software is HORRIFIC. 1) it is full of ads commercials and spam, 2) The playing table and betting software is on an 8th grade level. If this is their idea of entering the online poker market, I give you an EPIC FAIL. God, get POKERSTARS back in the USA.


almost 10 years ago

Not interested at all with SouthPoint Poker waiting for PokerStars or better quality sites to make a move.


almost 10 years ago

Don't give up, South Point. If you do things right - you have a great chance to succeed. PokerStars has a great poker room but it does not mean there is no place for others. I commend South Point for making a bold move. They just be smart about it.


almost 10 years ago

only a dope would play on that software


almost 10 years ago


If SouthPoint Owner Michael Gaughan or Rick Kulis, the company’s Vice President of Internet Gaming think that blasting poker players with never-ending advertisements; poorly written software that has more bugs than a Lousiana swamp; software that is often incapable of even updating itself properly; links that do not work; adverts that interrupt play; screens that pop-up obliterating tables in play; worthless prizes that are mailed and 5-times more is spent shipping the item than the piece of junk is worth to ship it; and tournament status screen that return SSL error messages I think that he should rethink their strategy.

Poker players are not stupid. SouthPoint is going to have to offer them something that is real and package it in an elegant manner.


This offering by SouthPoint (ZEN Gaming) is not in any way an elegant product, nor is it ready for prime time. It is certainly not for the serious poker player. If Mr. Gaughan or Mr. Kulis think any real poker players will take SouthPoint seriously (legislation approving) after this ill-conceived offering, I beg to differ.