Las Vegas Sun

November 18, 2017

Currently: 46° — Complete forecast

Internet poker revenues outgaining only bingo, Nevada regulators report


The Associated Press

Ultimate Gaming began offering Internet gambling in Nevada in early 2013, but announced in November 2014 it planned to cease operations in Nevada.

CARSON CITY – Internet poker hasn’t proved so far to be the bonanza some had hoped for.

The first monthly report on online poker gaming win showed it exceeded only bingo compared to other casino games, slot machines and sports betting.

The state Gaming Control Board today approved applications from six companies to extend their internet poker, licenses which were to expire if the companies did not start the games online in Nevada within six months.

“People are weighing the market,” said A.G. Burnett, board chairman.

Ellen Whittemore, attorney for MGM Resorts Online – one of the companies granted an extended license – told the board it “was continuing to monitor” if the play picked up.

The gross win for the gaming companies offering interactive poker for February was $824,000, which exceeded bingo at $490,000. Burnett noted there were only three companies licensed to offer poker to Nevadans — South Point, Caesars Entertainment and Fertitta Interactive, which is tied to Station Casinos.

Jeff Silver, an attorney representing the Max in Las Vegas and the Carson Station in Carson City, told the board there were only 150 players online for the poker games at one time and 500 persons are needed.

Outside the meeting, he called it “a loser.”

To get a full-scale license for Internet poker, the state charges a $500,000 entrance fee and $250,000 a year. Silver indicated he hoped those taxes might be modified.

Still, the Max, formerly the Maxim in Las Vegas, and the Carson Station gained preliminary approval Wednesday to go forward toward a license if there are changes.

Rory Bedore, owner of the two properties, said his casinos needed to look at new ways to do business. He told the board he wanted to be in a situation to move quickly if online poker games picked up.

“I have no illusions that we would make a ton of money” but the interactive poker games would be used to as an advertisement to draw in customers.

Nevada and Delaware recently signed an agreement to allow poker players in each state to play online with companies that offer the games in the other state. So far there have not been any final agreements between companies in each of the states.

Delaware and New Jersey now allow full-scale gambling over the Internet for its residents.

Gov. Brian Sandoval says he does not support full-scale casino games to be offering to Nevadans. It should be only poker in Nevada, he said.

It’s up to the individual states to determine their own policies on Internet gaming, he said.

Those clubs recommended for extension of their licenses by the control board Wednesday were the Grand Siena and Boomtown Reno Truckstop, both in Reno, and MGM Resorts Online, Golden Nugget, Boyd Interactive Gaming and Z4Poker, all in Las Vegas.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy