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August 27, 2014

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Ultimate Gaming to run online poker for the El Cortez

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Steve Marcus

The El Cortez in downtown Las Vegas Monday, June 10, 2013. STEVE MARCUS

The historic El Cortez casino, a holdover from Las Vegas’ mob days, is now lockstep with 21st century gambling.

Real-money poker website Ultimate Gaming has reached a deal to run the downtown resort’s online poker operations, the companies said today. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

El Cortez executives are now marketing ultimatepoker.com to their customers, who can deposit money and cash out at the casino cage after creating an account online.

“By combining the online accessibility of Ultimate Poker with the classic Vegas feel of the El Cortez, we’re giving new and existing players a different way to experience the game of poker,” El Cortez Executive Vice President Alexandra Epstein said in a news release.

Las Vegas-based Ultimate Gaming was cofounded by billionaire brothers Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta, who also own locals resort chain Station Casinos and mixed martial arts league Ultimate Fighting Championship.

With the El Cortez, Ultimate Gaming now provides online poker for about 20 casinos statewide, including the Station chain and Peppermill Resorts in Northern Nevada.

Anyone over age 21 and located in Nevada, whether a resident or visitor, can sign up to play.

El Cortez opened in 1941 and was purchased four years later by organized-crime figures Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, Meyer Lansky, Gus Greenbaum and Moe Sedway.

Jackie Gaughan bought the property in 1963 before acquiring a string of other casinos downtown. Gaughan, who died in March, sold his controlling stake in the El Cortez in 2008 to longtime friend and business partner Kenny Epstein.

The resort, 600 E. Fremont St., has retained much of its Spanish Colonial Revival style architecture and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in February 2013.

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