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Extension to Test Online Poker Sought by Nevada Casinos

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013 Extension to Test Online Poker Sought by Nevada Casinos

Earlier this year, three of the biggest casinos namely MGM Resorts, Boyd Gaming and Golden Nugget in Las Vegas, Nevada, were approved licenses to set up their online poker operations in the state. The casinos have now sought extension of the six month period that they were allocated to set up the cloud-based online poker facilities. The casinos apparently need more time to test the online poker software and equipment before they can activate their sites. The casinos have petitioned for the extension during the meeting they had with the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) this month.

As of today, Nevada already has two sites that offer online poker to its residents – WSOP.com and Ultimate Poker. Ultimate Poker belongs to Station Casino and WSOP.com is owned and operated by Caesars Entertainment Corp.

Additional Six Months to Test Software

During the meeting, the topics discussed between the NGCB and the three casinos Boyd, MGM and Golden Nugget include the need to extend the deadline for launching their online poker products, so that further extensive testing of the software can be done. This means that the casinos will each get 6 months more for testing their online poker software before they launch it for good in Nevada. By the time the three casinos are ready to launch their online products, New Jersey and Delaware would have also launched their first online casinos.

At present, the two sites catering to Nevada only have 500 members between them. The current sites operating in Nevada are dealing with liquidity issues owing to the smaller customer base. Launching three more sites would only make it hard to get new members from within Nevada, questioning the launch of stand-alone online poker rooms in the state.

Waiting for New Jersey to Go Online

Nevada’s online poker rules allow interstate compacts with other states, provided online poker there is regulated. This is perhaps what the three casinos are hoping to do by delaying the launch of their online poker sites until casinos in New Jersey get the approval for launching online poker in their state.

So once the extension is granted by the Nevada Gaming Control Board, Boyd Gaming and MGM Resorts, both of which which will get their software from Bwin.party, will share their player database with Atlantic City’s Borgata Casino, which will also be using bwin.party software. Golden Nugget casino on the other hand will be able to partner with its sister casino in AC, as they are both powered by Bally Technologies.

New Jersey will get its online poker sites only in late November this year. And the three casinos in Nevada with online poker licenses can partner with these AC online poker rooms, following the completion of their 6-month extended testing phase.

According to the chairman of the Nevada Gambling Control Board, AG Brunett, requests for extensions are quite common in the industry, even though all three casinos have cited additional testing of software and equipment as reason for extension. He said that it is a routine request that even a few land-based casinos tend to put forth from time to time. In any case, experts believe that this portrays Nevada online poker industry in a poor light.

Even though the licenses have been granted and approvals given over the past one and half year, only two online poker sites managed to go online, with the rest of them moving on very slowly. However, whether that is true or not can be determined only next month, when other online casino and poker operators are likely to go live in New Jersey.