The atmosphere is densely charged over Nevada as major casino operators are working diligently to prepare for the impending launch of the first legal real-money online poker rooms to grace the corridors of the United States’ internet super-highway.
The initial launch, previously anticipated for early 2013, is now projected to occur much later in the coming year, thanks to an elongated regulatory process. Rob Sabo of Northern Nevada Business Weekly penned a headline for Fox Reno News stating that the definitions of how online poker in Nevada will be conducted and supervised are still being worked out, but that’s not stopping the Silver State’s larger casinos from priming for the big event.
A few major operators are already set to present their internet poker sites to the state’s adult populace. South Point Casino was the first to be granted a license to supply intrastate online poker to the residents of Nevada. Quickly to follow was Monarch, Boyd, Golden Nugget and Station Casinos, among others. Last month, MGM Resorts, one of the largest casino operators worldwide, joined the list, as did a few minor companies seeking to claim a slice of the proverbial pie.
The Nevada Gaming Control Board is rifling through paper work on a daily basis to analyze more casino operators who are still waiting for licensed approval. To make matters more complicated, the casino brands aren’t the only ones awaiting licensing.
AG Burnett, commissioner of the Nevada Gaming Control Board explained, “There is a license for operator of the interactive gaming website; there is a license for a manufacturer of the interactive system itself; and there is a license for those who make products associated with the Web site.”
Interactive systems manufacturers, aka poker software programmers, who have already received approval form the board include Bally Technologies, International Game Technology (IGT), NetEffect Network, WMS Industries and SHFL Entertainment (formerly Shuffle Master), to name a few.
The Monarch Casino & Resort in Northern Nevada was among the first operators to be granted a license to provide online poker to the Silver State, but has yet to choose its software provider. Most major operators have already inked a contract with an interactive systems supplier, allowing them to begin development a full online poker package in preparation for the impending launch. Some have even leapt ahead, proffering their poker sites to the world in a free-play format for the time being.
Monarch, on the other hand, is taking it’s time, proclaiming the need for “due diligence” as the company is “researching potential partners”, says Monarch Casino & Resort Chief Operating Officer, David Farahi.
According to Farahi, with such a huge opportunity before them – one that most are expecting to spread well beyond the boundaries of the Silver State over the next few years – they do not want to make any hasty decisions. The COO explained that the there is much interest from software providers who are courting Monarch to join forces. “As we learn more we are developing our plan on how we are going to get in on this industry.”