Looks like 888 Holdings, the Gibraltar-based online gaming experts, and Treasure Island (TI), one of Las Vegas’ older casinos, have passed muster with the Nevada Gaming Control Board and will likely be able to obtain interactive licenses for Internet poker operations in the Silver State.
Licensing approval was passed by the Board this week after a two-hour intensive review of 888, and now moves on to the Nevada Gaming Commission with the Board’s favorable recommendations later this month. Ditto for Treasure Island, which only got about five minutes of the Board’s time in contrast: what you call your home team advantage, it would seem.
No “Bad Actors” Found
The intensive scrutiny for 888 was likely to preclude the possibility of any “bad actor” issues; which is exactly what will keep PokerStars from obtaining the same license for the next five years. Those rules come from provisions built into Assembly Bill 114, Nevada’s new interactive gaming measure that recently passed the state legislature, and which preclude any online gaming company from receiving a Nevada license if it continued to accept Internet wagers from American customers after 2006, when the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was passed by the Feds. 888’s attorney, Gil White, said the company blocked site access to American gamblers within just 24 hours of the act being signed into law by then-president George W. Bush, so they will now be allowed to make money with other squeaky-clean online players once Internet poker launches in Nevada.
“888 is ready and able to operate in Nevada,” said company CEO Brian Mattingley at the key hearing. He added that their first project will be the launch of the World Series of Poker website, in partnership with Caesars Interactive Entertainment, which already got their licensing approval last year.
888 already has several World Series of Poker websites with Caesars in various European markets, so Treasure Island isn’t their only lover; they may be law-abiding, but that doesn’t mean they don’t sleep around.
Treasure Island Skates Through
Treasure Island’s almost-instant licensing approval from the Gaming Control Board was due to it being a “turnkey operation,” according to TI attorney Frank Schreck. “I don’t have any questions, unless you want me to make some up,” he was told by Control Board Chairman A.G. Burnett at the licensing hearing.
888 Holdings will be in charge of the technical end of TI’s poker presence online; all the logos and poker room images will represent the once kid-friendly pirate-themed casino that’s now moved on to more of an R-rated aura.
“Treasure Island just hopes to collect the money,” said Schreck.