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December 18, 2014

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Station Casinos wins approval for Internet poker venture

The Nevada Gaming Commission on Thursday cleared Station Casinos to develop and operate its own Internet poker system after getting assurances there will be no money laundering or underage betting.

The commission noted that other major casinos have gained licenses for Internet gambling but most are using other companies to develop the software to process the betting.

Commissioners questioned the officials of Station at length about the safeguards and the ability to detect suspicious activity.

Tobin Prior, CEO of Ultimate Gaming that was acquired by Station Casinos, told the commission it has “state of the art” technology and will report any problems in the system to state regulators.

Thomas Breitling of Station Casinos was optimistic about prospects of the proposed business, saying Nevada has 47 million visitors a year.

“Some say it’s a $100 million market,” he said.

Prior said, “It was frustrating to sit on the sidelines” watching all this unlicensed and unregulated gambling taking place. He said there are 38 full-time employees developing this system in Las Vegas and the number will rise to 100 in about a year.

Breitling said “millions of dollars” have been committed to developing the in-house system, rather than relying on an outside company. In this way, company officials said they could react quickly to making any changes.

Company officials said the system will be able to detect if minors are playing, if the bets are being made within Nevada and sorting out problem gamblers. They also said it would protect against money laundering.

Along with the licensing of the computer betting, the commission approved a reorganization of the company.

A.G. Burnett, chairman of the state Gaming Control Board, said all the systems approved by the commission are still being evaluated in the agency lab and none has received approval to go forward.

In a related item, the commission questioned Jonathan R. Jossel about his Internet gambling through a company in England. Jossel, who was approved as a member-manager of the Plaza resort in downtown Las Vegas, had set up an account in London before he came to this country.

And he was able to make bets through the Internet. But he said he stopped when he learned it was illegal. “It’s not my intention to do it again,” he told the commission.

He said $35 million has been spent in remodeling the Plaza and a “transformation” has been taking place in downtown Las Vegas.

The commission granted a license to Secure Trading of Wilmington, Del., to offer payment processing customer identification and other services to casinos that enter the computer gaming business.

Chris Thom, company chairman, told the commission it would provide these services but would not be involved in the accounts.

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