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Best of Howard Stutz

Gaming Guru

Howard Stutz
 

Gaming regulators allow Real Gaming poker website to move ahead

24 October 2014

LAS VEGAS -- State gaming regulators took the “soft launch” tag off the Real Gaming poker website Thursday, allowing the Internet presence for Michael Gaughan’s South Point Hotel Casino and Spa to move forward after a nearly eight-month testing period.

RealGaming.com launched in February and joins Ultimate­Poker.com and WSOP.com in offering regulated online gaming to gamblers within Nevada.

The website is owned by the South Point and is offering tournament play and cash games across multiple platforms, including PC and Mac computers, smartphones and tablets.

The Gaming Control Board held a special meeting in Carson City to consider Real Gaming. The Nevada Gaming Commission approved the removal of the test period, acting on the Control Board’s favorable recommendation.

Lawrence Vaughan, a technology expert who is serving as Real Gaming’s CEO, told the control board the company didn’t have any issues with player verification and ensuring players were located in Nevada during the test period. He also said its didn’t appear the website helped grow the South Point’s live poker business.

Real Gaming’s initial marketing focus had been on South Point’s existing customer base. With the soft launch ended, Real Gaming expects to extend its marketing efforts.

In other action by the Gaming Commission, management company Warner Gaming was approved to take over the Horizon in Lake Tahoe and transform the shuttered hotel-casino into a Hard Rock-branded property.

Warner, which is headed by gaming executive Bill Warner, manages the Hard Rock Hotel Las Vegas and a Hard Rock-branded hotel-casino in Sioux City, Iowa.

The renovation of the Horizon will cost $60 million. Warner expects the property to reopen in January.

Warner said the company is renovating the entire property, including the 539 hotel rooms, the 25,000-square-foot casino, while adding new restaurants, bars and entertainment attractions. The property will also house a Hard Rock-branded retail store.

The property, which is owned by the Park family of Northern Nevada, was originally built as the Sahara Lake Tahoe by Del Webb. The property was known as the Horizon when it was managed by Columbia Sussex Corp., but it fell into disarray.

Warner said the goal is to bring younger customers to the hotel-casino while capitalizing on the nearby Lake Tahoe ski areas. He said the resort would focus heavily on nongaming amenities, such as dining and entertainment..

Warner Gaming, which has managed the Hard Rock Hotel Las Vegas since 2011, has deals in place to manage potential Indian casinos in California near the Stockton-Lodi area and Spokane Wash. Warner told the Control Board the California casino wouldn’t compete with the Lake Tahoe project.

The Gaming Commission also approved a transfer of nearly 11 percent ownership stake in Caesars Interactive Entertainment to Rock Gaming, a company controlled by Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert.

The deal completed a planned financing that took place last year when the company moved several hotel-casinos and entities into a new holding company.

Caesars Interactive operates the World Series of Poker and Caesars Entertainment Corp.’s online social gaming businesses.

Rock Gaming is a joint venture partner with Caesars Entertainment in the Horseshoe Casinos in Cleveland and Cincinnati and the recently opened Horseshoe Casino Baltimore.
Gaming regulators allow Real Gaming poker website to move ahead is republished from Online.CasinoCity.com.