PokerNews.com recently published an interview with 888 Holdings CEO Brian Mattingly in which the executive talked about 888’s position for a potential return to the US market. After the UIGEA was signed into law in 2006, the UK-based online gambling company made an orderly exit from the US market, unlike their major competitors PokerStars and FullTilt. Mattingly now touts their willingness to comply with the regulatory issues in the US as a big benefit to the process of being approved as a legal provider under anticipated new laws being considered in several US states.
888 has already negotiated a key agreement with Caesars, the largest US land-based casino company, and 888 has begun the licensing process with Nevada. These early steps will position the company in the lead once the seemingly inevitable approval for Internet gaming occurs in Nevada. Mattingly also mentions that since the Caesars deal is non-exclusive, 888 is in negotiations with other partners in the US market. He declines to give specifics until the contracts are signed, but points out that because of the company’s status with regulators, 888 is the “prettiest girl in the room” for negotiations with operators.
Mattingly’s points about the value of complying with UIGEA are well-taken. I believe that for many states considering online gaming in the near future, the field of potential operators will fall clearly into two camps… Those who complied with the US government’s intent to stop Internet gambling via UIGEA, and those who flaunted the administration’s will and continued to serve US customers no matter the cost. We have of course already seen the main members of the latter group served notice through the black Friday seizures and legal charges.
Management at 888 has clearly set the company on a path that could lead to a dominant market position once the starting gun in the US fires. See the interview at PokerNews for a short but insightful read.