Nevada grants first operator licences for online poker

South Point Poker could be offering licensed real-money games in Nevada as early as October, after it was granted the first intrastate online poker operator licence by the State Gaming Commission yesterday.

Steve Harris, lawyer for the South Point Hotel, Casino and & Spa in Las Vegas, told the Commission that inspection and testing of the company’s technology was still ongoing, but that he hoped South Point Poker would be taking real-money bets within Nevada state borders by October. South Point already operates a free-play poker offering.

Monarch Interactive, the online arm of the Monarch Casino & Resort in Reno, also received an operator’s interactive gambling licence from the Commission. Monarch however does not own proprietary technology and has yet to announce a software partner from among the suppliers already licensed by the Commission or in the Silver State’s licensing pipeline.

Other US casino and gaming companies which have applied for operator licences include Caesars, which has announced 888 as its supplier; Boyd Gaming, which may turn to federal partner for its software; MGM, with PartyPoker owner; Wynn, yet to announce a partner after severing ties with PokerStars following the Black Friday indictments last April; and Fertitta Interactive/Station Casinos, which bought California-based supplier CyberArts last October.

While the Nevada player pool is too small to sustain profitable poker businesses for multiple operators, the issuing of licences puts Nevada in the box seat to become one of two lead regulators in a federal egaming market, the other being New Jersey. Powerful US casino lobby group the American Gaming Association has publicly supported these claims.

Silver State governor Brian Sandoval at a Nevada Gaming Policy meeting in June that Nevada could one day be the “nerve centre” for US online gambling.

Casino Choice journalist

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