South Point Casino granted first online poker license for Nevada
Last week, the Nevada Gaming Control Board issued the first licenses for online poker operators in Nevada, with Michael Gaughan’s South Point Poker LLC poised to cross the finish line first with a real-money gambling product available to state residents. South Point is already in the second phase of testing of the poker software platform that they developed in-house. A spokesman for the casino indicates that after additional inspections, they hope to launch the games in October.
The site is said to have safeguards in place to insure that players are residents of Nevada, and over 21 years of age. Because the site will be the first licensee to market, I expect that the games will be carefully scrutinized by regulators to make sure the site operates as expected. The online environment has a whole new set of concerns that will need attention and oversight, such as under-age gamblers, collusion between players, and potential money laundering. While South Point’s approach of developing their own software may provide an advantage in time-to-market, it also comes with responsibilities the company could have avoided by partnering with an existing developer. Several major companies have extensive experience in the world market for online poker, and I am surprised to see a newly developed platform be first to market instead.
Nonetheless, it is an exciting time for the online gambling industry in the US. While there are sure to be missteps and stumbles along the way, I will be happy to finally see the first US online poker site “shuffle up and deal.”
Monarch Interactive of Reno, NV also received an operator license for online poker, but Monarch has much more to complete before they can launch a site. They are planning to partner with an outside provider, which means further inspections and licensing will be required of their partner. Monarch’s parent company has subsidiaries which operate the Atlantis Casino in Reno and a casino in Black Hawk, Colorado.