Nevada rapidly moved to become the first state in the US to offer online poker for money after the Department of Justice (DOJ) allowed each individual state to decide their own Internet poker destiny late last year. As you can imagine, since then companies have been lining up in hopes of being approved for one of the first ever interactive gaming licenses offered by the Nevada Gaming Commission (NGC). Companies who are able to participate in the first wave of legalized online poker play since the DOJ ruling will be able to establish themselves as leaders in what looks to be a multibillion dollar industry in the US.
Boyd Interactive Gaming is a subsidiary of Boyd Gaming Corporation, and they were asked to attend a public hearing of the NGC in Las Vegas this past Thursday concerning the possibility of receiving an online poker license. The resulting meeting ended in favor of Boyd, and they snagged the online poker license they were looking for. Boyd has formed a partnership with Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment Plc to deliver online poker in the state of Nevada, and now they anxiously await approval by the NGC for Bwin.Party to also receive an interactive gaming license.
Roughly a year ago, Boyd entered into a similar partnership with MGM Resorts International which included Bwin.Party, allowing them to provide online poker services in Nevada using proprietary online poker software provided and created by Bwin.Party. Boyd explained to the NGC that their partnership with Bwin.Party came about because of a lack of interest and inability to create their own proprietary software or purchase an online poker company. After holding discussions with more than 18 companies, Boyd decided on the Bwin.Party partnership, stating that their final decision was based on experience and the fact that Bwin.Party is the “second largest poker network in the world.”
Bwin.Party owns the once powerful Party Poker, a site who ran afoul of US regulatory and judicial officials when the DOJ cracked down on several major online poker sites in 2011. Back in 2006 the US government signed into law the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), and that is the same year that Party Poker withdrew from the US online poker market and focused on the UK marketplace. Because they voluntarily withdrew from the US marketplace, they are looked upon with favor by US online gambling regulators, and industry analysts say the company still has an important role to play in the upcoming online poker history that will be made in the United States.
Boyd Gaming Corporation owns multiple casinos located in Las Vegas, Nevada, as well as other US states. The influential entertainment-based company owns such recognizable land-based casinos as the Gold Coast, Orleans Hotel and Fremont Hotel and Casino. Bwin.Party has already applied for an online poker license in Nevada, and is simply waiting and hoping for good news in that regard. NGC officials stated in the most recent hearing that state plans include moving forward into other areas of online gambling, and that this initial foray into USA online poker will provide a good test run so the state can fine tune their game lab testing and company approval process. They will then be able to branch off into those other forms of online gambling such as casino table games, slot games, horse racing and other gambling offerings.