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Casino Says It Wants To Be Able To 'Make Dumb Decisions Very Cheaply' With Online Poker

ACEP Will Transition To Real-Money Play If Successful With 2012 Plans


Stratosphere in Las VegasFor ACEP Interactive — the latest Nevada casino business to receive its first round of regulatory approval to operate online poker in the state — starting with a free-play model in the coming months is about being able to “make dumb decisions very cheaply,” the company’s director of gaming development told Nevada regulators Thursday.

At the hearing, the state’s Gaming Control Board unanimously OK’d the company to start dabbling in web gaming.

The company said it spent the last 18 months “getting educated” on the possibility of a U.S. market. American Casino & Entertainment Properties wants to utilize free play to build its existing brands and customer database.

“We primarily want to drive visitation to the properties,” ACEP’s Alec Driscoll said. He added that it’s a “simple model.”

ACEP owns four properties in southern Nevada: Stratosphere Hotel Casino and Tower, Arizona Charlie’s Decatur, Arizona Charlie’s Boulder and the Aquarius Casino Resort.

The company said that if it’s successful with the free-play venture, it will look toward real-money play. The casino company doesn’t yet have a technology partner to run virtual games.

The company is looking to join South Point Poker, Monarch Interactive, International Game Technology, Shuffle Master, Bally Technologies and Global Cash Access as the only companies licensed to be involved with web poker.

WMS Gaming, a slot machine maker, received similar approval Thursday.

Follow Brian Pempus on Twitter — @brianpempus