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Nevada Gaming Control Board approves Caesars group for online poker website6 December 2012
By Howard Stutz
The Gaming Control Board tentatively approved Caesars Interactive Entertainment to operate online poker in Nevada.
The company, the interactive arm of the Caesars Entertainment Corp., manages the promotion and advertising aspects of the annual World Series of Poker.
Caesars Entertainment general counsel Michael Cohen told the board during a meeting in Carson City that the Nevada website would be run as a World Series of Poker brand.
If approved by the Nevada Gaming Commission on Dec. 20, Caesars would become the 17th company granted an interactive gaming license to offer online poker to players who are physically within the state's borders.
The website will operate using technology provided by 888 Holdings, a European online gaming operator. 888, which was found suitable in Nevada in 2011 to be a business partner of Caesars Interactive, is seeking full licensing as a provider of interactive gaming systems by the state.
Caesars and 888 Holdings now operate legal real money World Series of Poker websites in the United Kingdom, France and Italy.
Caesars Interactive Chief Executive Officer Mitch Garber told board the website would go live as soon as Gibraltar-based 888 is licensed by Nevada as an interactive gaming provider, possibly by next spring.
"We'll be ready once the licenses allow us to do that," Garber said.
Garber, who joined Caesars in 2010 and helped establish the company's interactive division, also received tentative approval after being questioned about his time as CEO of European online casino company Partygaming.
Garber became Partygaming's CEO in April 2006, six months before Congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Act. Garber said the company immediately "turned off" its U.S. business.
Two years later, Garber told the board he and other company officials had become aware the U.S. Department of Justice was investigating online gaming companies that had accepted wagers from American customers before the act became law.
Garber told the board he favored Partygaming entering into settlement discussions with the Justice Department. Garber left Partygaming in April 2008. The company agreed to pay a $105 million fine a year later and was cleared from being prosecuted for any pre-act activities.
Control Board Chairman A.G. Burnett thanked Garber for his responses and should be found suitable under Nevada standards.
Caesars Interactive also operates Playtika, a social gaming company that provides free play casino games to Facebook and other social media websites.
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