Posted 3/10/11 : No problem with commercial relationship with 888 group
It's taken some time, but the business relationship between Las Vegas-based Caesar's Entertainment and Gibraltar's 888.com online gambling group has been given the blessing of a three member panel at the Nevada Control Board.
The Board emphasised that the approval was not a licence, but a recognition that an acceptable business relationship between the companies existed in terms of the Nevada Foreign Gaming Act.
888.com and the interactive division of Caesars are collaborating in ‘no US players' internet gambling enterprises in Europe.
Caesars has commercial relationships with two subsidiaries of 888 Holdings, namely Fordart Limited and the more widely known Cassava Enterprises Limited, assisting Caesars in expanding into the UK market with both online gambling and its World Series of Poker brand.
There were fears that 888.com's pre-UIGEA activities in the US market might prejudice its partnership with the Montreal-based interactive division of Caesars, but these were assuaged this week by the Board's approval and a comment by panel member A.G. Burnett, who addressed this aspect by saying:
"It's a business to business agreement that would allow Caesars to offer games in the UK. The UIGEA is vague at best and was done in haste and its passage forced  to abandon the US market to its detriment."
The Board heard substantial evidence regarding 888.com’s immediate withdrawal from the US market following the imposition of the UIGEA in 2006.
Caesars Interactive chief exec Mitch Garber said he regarded the development as a key step forward in the eventual legalization of internet gambling in the United States.
“It was an historic moment,” Garber said. “It confirms that Internet gaming is a reality. It should allow us to look more and more at a federally regulated environment in the United States.”
If approved by the Nevada Gaming Commission when it meets March 24, the partnership will be the first foreign online gambling business relationship accepted for a Nevada licensee, although in 2007 approval was given for MGM to partner with Pansy Ho and her company in a Macau land venture.