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Best of Howard Stutz

Gaming Guru

Howard Stutz
 

State gaming regulators recommend plan to link online poker websites

14 July 2014

LAS VEGAS -- State gaming regulators tentatively approved a planned interactive gaming system that could house online poker websites for multiple casinos, potentially increasing the player pool in Nevada.

Regulators said the technology, which is operated by Gibraltar-based 888 Holdings Plc, could be the model for the planned system that would run the shared online gaming network between Nevada and Delaware.

Under the plan proposed Wednesday morning to the Nevada State Gaming Control Board, 888 Holdings will develop an inter-operator poker network that will include Caesars Interactive Entertainment’s WSOP.com and the planned online poker room from Treasure Island. A separate 888 poker room — connected to Treasure Island — would be the third site on the platform.

Attorneys Mark Clayton of Las Vegas and Yehoshua Gurtler of Israel, representing 888, said players would be able to log into the system through either WSOP.com or Treasure Island, which could increase the number of players in a single Internet poker room at any given time.

“For Nevada, a network provides more gaming taxes due to greater product attractiveness and player participation,” Gurtler said.

Clayton said after the hearing that multiple casinos both large and small could join the network, potentially creating more common online poker tables.

Through technology, revenue from the games are distributed to each casino on the platform based on a registered player joining a game.

Gurtler said the network allows for casinos to gain a higher return on their marketing efforts and offer wider range of poker products.

The concept for the system was approved when gaming regulators signed off on Nevada’s interactive gaming regulations.

WSOP.com launched last fall. Treasure Island has been approved for interactive gaming by Nevada regulators, but the casino’s actual online poker room still needs to be approved before the presence can launch on the platform.

In February, Gov. Brian Sandoval and Delaware Gov. Jack Markell signed the nation’s first multistate Internet gaming agreement, which will allow players in both states to play online poker against each other over a shared platform. 888 Holdings is expected to create the platform.

“Everyone here has been working hard to make the agreement with Delaware a reality,” Control Board Chairman A.G. Burnett said after the panel voted unanimously in favor of the 888-Caesars-Treasure Island proposal.

The Nevada Gaming Commission will rule on the matter on July 24.

Online poker has not been a revenue windfall in Nevada since the first website launched in April 2013.

In May, Nevada’s three online poker websites — WSOP.com, Station Casinos, Inc.'s Ultimate Poker and the South Point’s Real Gaming — combined for $862,000 in gaming revenue, an 8.8 percent increase over April’s total.

April’s figure of $782,000 was a decline of 14.5 percent over March.

For the first 12 months, Nevada’s online poker revenue has averaged roughly $921,000 per month.

In a report to investors last month, Eilers Research gaming analyst Adam Krejcik said online gaming numbers from Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey haven’t matched up with the lofty projections many observers have predicted.

“Many will argue that we are only in the early innings of regulated online poker in the U.S. and problems surrounding payment processing and geolocation have negatively impacted results,” Krejcik said.

“Looking forward, we believe states considering adopting real-money online poker should have cautious expectations and believe it’s important to not lose sight of the bigger issue, which is to grow overall gaming revenues,” he said.
State gaming regulators recommend plan to link online poker websites is republished from Online.CasinoCity.com.