Thursday June 7, 2012 : BALLY IN LINE TO BE FIRST ONLINE POKER LICENSEE IN NEVADA (Update)
Casino equipment supplier gets the nod from Nevada Gaming Control Board
The application of Bally Technologies for an interactive gaming licence as a manufacturer of online gaming systems moved up a gear in Las Vegas Wednesday with the approval of the three man Nevada Gaming Contol Board.
The application now moves to the Nevada Gaming Commission, which will consider the matter at its June 21 meeting in Las Vegas.
After that, it appears that no one is quite sure what happens; the state legislature has passed the required laws, which have been signed off by the state governor, and exhaustive and detailed regulatory requirements have been devised and approved.
The law requires that operations cannot begin without federal law changes or the approval of the Department of Justice, which in December last year reversed its position on internet gambling by asserting that only sportsbetting is covered by the Wire Act.
Control Board chairman Mark Lipparelli is on record as saying that it could be six to ten months before operations commence.
Wednesday's approval of the Bally application prompted John Connelly, vice president of business development for the company, to the tell Associated Press news agency that fifty casinos, many of them in Nevada, are interested in buying or leasing what he called Bally's "infrastructure" system to permit players, using their mobile phones and computers, to tie into casinos to make online wagers.
Connelly said the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas is operating a free Internet poker game available outside Nevada. He said there have been 1,056 players who have registered. It is allowed to operate because it is free.
Connelly sees a great expansion from players with hand-held devices. He said the average use of these devices now is 2.7 hours a day, and that 85 percent of online gamblers had never been to a land casino.
The bets will only be taken inside Nevada, and the system must ensure that no one under 21 years old is permitted to play.
During the hour-long approval hearing, Bally attorney Mark Lerner said Nevada enacted the online gambling law a decade ago and many states are now getting ready to pass similar laws. "Nevada is committed to the future," he told the board.
Lerner told the board that Bally purchased online technology from Chili Gaming, based in France. It did not buy the company, he said, but did hire some of the executives. The attorney stressed repeatedly that Bally had found no indication that Chili Gaming had illegally accepted wagers from the United States.
If the Nevada Gaming Commission approves the Bally application it will become the first licence holder for Nevada; another application, that of International Gaming Technology, is to be similarly considered by the Gaming Control Board today (Thursday).