Paddy Power yesterday moved one step closer to eventually establishing a business in the US, when it was granted a preliminary finding of suitability to operate in Nevada by gaming regulators.
Nevada Gaming Control Board member AG Burnett said the finding of suitability Paddy Power was seeking, submitting itself to the investigative process ahead of actually applying for a licence or buying a business in the state, was “the first one of its kind”.
Having received the recommendation of the three-man Nevada Gaming Control Board, Paddy Power’s application will now be considered by the Nevada Gaming Commission on 26 July, the final step in the Nevada approval process.
Paddy Power CEO Patrick Kennedy (pictured above left in bath with ex England footballer Carlton Palmer) told the Control Board that his business was looking at all opportunities Stateside, “but our expertise is in online gaming”, adding: “That’s obviously what we’re looking at doing in Nevada and in other states.” UK rival William Hill passed probity in Nevada last month, receiving licences to own and operate three land-based sportsbook chains and mobile sports betting.
The operator was understood to have originally applied for licensing as a manufacturer and distributor of gaming equipment and as a mobile operator back in August 2010.
Casino supplier Shuffle Master also received the green light from the Control Board yesterday, for the manufacture and supply of interactive gaming systems. Their recommendation will also come before the Commission on 26 July.
Shuffle Master’s chief strategy officer Lou Castle said the company was looking into providing online poker for Nevada casinos that eventually received interactive gaming operating licences, despite pulling out of a deal to buy the Ongame poker network from bwin.party last month due to concerns over the tough conditions facing the European side of the Ongame business and slower-than-expected regulation Stateside of online poker.
Castle said its immediate plan was to develop free-play social media versions of its existing games already supplied in legal online gaming markets, such as Three Card Poker, Ultimate Texas Hold’em and Caribbean Stud Poker, with a view to converting players of these games in the US to real-money play in land-based casinos.
Shuffle Master’s fellow US casino suppliers Bally and IGT received full interactive gaming licences last month.