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Nevada Approves First Online Poker License

Bally Technologies' Application Now Goes to Gaming Commission


The World Series of Poker isn’t the only place where the game is making history this summer. On Wednesday, the Nevada Gaming Control Board agreed to allow Bally Technologies, Inc. to run intrastate online poker.

Attorney Ellen Whittemore said the company expected a “unique investigation” while regulators prepared to issue the first license of its kind in U.S. gaming history.

“Nevada is ready to go. Bally is ready to go,” said Mark Lerner, another attorney for the company.

Bally, a business-to-business provider, finalized its acquisition of Chiligaming in April 2012, which allows it to offer online poker software to casino operators. Chiligaming software is behind the recently launched free-play site of the Golden Nugget.

Companies like Bally, which will manufacture, run and maintain online gaming systems, must partner with a Nevada brick-and-mortar. They can’t run an online poker site independently.

Bally’s licensing fee is $125,000, but Control Board Chairman Mark Lipparelli said that could be reduced pending the outcome of the Nevada Gaming Policy Committee. At the last meeting, MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren said he’d like online gaming fees reduced.

Bally’s application now goes to the Gaming Commission, which will meet on June 21. If successful there, the company has a license, but will still need its technology vetted.

International Game Technology’s application to run online poker will be heard by the Control Board when it reconvenes on Thursday.

Follow Brian Pempus on Twitter — @brianpempus



10 years ago

So you have to be partnered with an existing brick and mortar room to get a license to have an online poker company in Nevada. Other states want it restricted to casinos or racetracks, and still others want their state lotteries to have control. Is this country just a protectionist cabal that has completely abandoned the principal of free markets and competition?

Sadly, that's rhetorical. I already know the answer.


10 years ago

You'd hardly expect the entire casino industry to stand aside and let new companies come in and offer online poker. They would've fought this tooth and nail if they were excluded. It makes sense to tie the sites into brivk and mortar casinos that can take deposits and handle withdrawals. One of the legal concerns would be underage players using the online site - a fourteen year old standing in line to be paid out in a casino poker room would be fairly obvious.


10 years ago

All those entities you name were created by free markets. These companies have proven them selves in the free market you so love. I guess your idea of free market is any untested unproven company. If on line poker in the US expands and grows there will be companies that get a chance to participate who are not now involved in poker at this time. This is not some pie in the sky start up company with and idea. This is gambling which all the afore mentioned entities have a track record of success in. Since they have experience they most obviously will be chosen over and entity with no experience.


10 years ago

An underage gambler can always get a legal adult to buy him alcohol, purchase a Visa gift card or place a cash deposit to gamble. Most underage gamblers are 15-17 and may have the math skills, patience and discipline to gamble.

Poker Stars, Party Poker and other online casinos have already proven success in the free market.

The brick and mortar casinos would fight/buy favor to stop casinos built any and everywhere.