Plan to link Nev. online poker rooms gets early OK
LAS VEGAS — Nevada gambling regulators have given preliminary approval to a system that could link online poker websites, creating a larger player pool that’s expected to make legal play more attractive.
Gaming Control Board officials said Wednesday that the network, which would be operated by Gibraltar-based 888 Holdings PLC, could be a model for a system connecting players in Nevada and Delaware. The two states have legalized online poker within their borders and signed an accord that clears the way for interstate play in the future.
“Everyone here has been working hard to make the agreement with Delaware a reality,” chairman A.G. Burnett said, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal (http://bit.ly/1mDzWXj ).
The proposal calls for linking players from a planned online poker site operated by MGM Resorts International’s Treasure Island casino and WSOP.com, which is run by Caesars Interactive Entertainment Inc. It would also include a separate 888 online poker room connected to Treasure Island.
Players could log in to the same online poker room whether they entered through a WSOP or Treasure Island site. Revenue would be split based on which poker site the player used to log in.
Legal online poker, which launched in spring 2013, still accounts for a small fraction of Nevada’s overall gambling revenue. Three sites running in the state pulled in $862,000 in May, while Nevada’s land-based casinos brought in $970 million that month.
Attorney Yehoshua Gurtler, who represents 888, said the system could increase the online poker haul.
“For Nevada, a network provides more gaming taxes due to greater product attractiveness and player participation,” he said.
The Gaming Control Board unanimously approved the plan. It goes before the Nevada Gaming Commission July 24.