With now close to 40 companies having applied for online interactive gaming licenses in Nevada, three new companies came one step closer to benefiting from Nevada’s “first-ever” online poker status in the United States by receiving an approval from the Nevada Gaming Commission on Thursday, September 18. Companies must first receive a go-ahead from the State Gaming Control Board after an intense vetting process, then the voting moves on to the Nevada Gaming Commission, and three new companies received the most recent thumbs up approval in last week’s round of voting. Nevada was the first state to pass online intrastate poker legislation since the United States Department of Justice passed that responsibility to the state level in December of last year.
American Casino & Entertainment Properties LLC (ACEP) and PokerTrip Enterprises Inc., both of Las Vegas, joined WMS Industries Inc. of Waukegan, Illinois in becoming the most recent Nevada online poker companies. It appears that a statewide online poker experience which will actually shuffle up and deal for the first time in late 2012, and early 2013 at the latest. WMS Industries received an interactive gaming system manufacturers license as well as a service provider license, ACEP will perform as an interactive gaming operator, and PokerTrip Enterprises received the first ever online poker marketers license. Interactive gaming operators are not required to employ PokerTrip’s services, and the company will generate revenue on an affiliate or commission basis whenever it sends paying traffic to an online poker website in Nevada.
ACEP is the managing owner of a couple of Arizona Charlie’s casinos and the famous Stratosphere in Las Vegas, and they also own the Aquarius in Laughlin, Nevada. The company also owns a members only club for their brick-and-mortar casino customers called “ace Play” which gives it a head start over other interactive gaming operators, as they have already developed a database of Nevada poker players. The state online poker legislation allows for any Nevada residents or travelers to play poker online for money while located in the state boundaries. And after the State Gaming Control Board earlier this month gave their resounding approval for all three applicants, rubber stamp approval from the Nevada Gaming Commission was expected.
Currently technical testing is ongoing for the above three new license holders, and approval from Nevada’s gaming lab testing facilities is required before any company may exercise their interactive gaming licenses by offering services online. Some of the major names already in the online poker gambling mix in Nevada are Las Vegas companies South Point Poker LLC, Global Cash Access Holdings Inc., Bally Technologies Inc. and Shuffle Master. IGT and Monarch Interactive Inc. are two Reno, Nevada companies which have also been licensed previously.
The recent push by both the State Gaming Control Board and the Nevada Gaming Commission to responsibly license companies in a timely manner is happening for two major financial reasons. First, with Delaware also joining the online poker fiesta as the second US state to pass legislation allowing online poker play, Nevada certainly wants to be the first state to actually offer history-making online poker play in the United States. Also, a last-minute push at the national level to pass Federal legislation regulating and licensing online poker play could possibly pull the financial rug out from under Nevada if they do not deliver a viable online poker solution before the Feds do. The most recent estimates from Nevada gaming industry analysts and experts show online poker play in that state being delivered by October of this year, and providing a much needed multi-million dollar cash infusion.