Thursday, October 4, 2012 : GETTING A FOOT IN THE U.S. ONLINE POKER DOOR
French operator launches new free-to-play site for American poker fans
Hopefully changing attitudes toward legalised online poker in the United States appear to have persuaded the top French operator Winamax to put a toe in the water, launching a free-to-play site branded Winamax Poker, powered by the firm's proprietary software.
Winamax has traditionally only offered real money action in regulated markets, and maintains this policy on its new US venture to ensure it remains within US legal poker limits whilst building awareness and a player base against the day there is a US legislative breakthrough that will make real-money operations possible.
Winamax is one of around thirty companies that has applied for a Nevada online poker licence.
The new site will enable players to familiarise themselves with the game and with the French operator, earning prizes and points to participate in tournaments and ring games.
The operator is making the action available across a wide range of distribution channels that includes mobile and tablet apps as well as more conventional platforms like desktops. Facebook app access is also planned in the near future.
CEO Canel Frichet said earlier this year that the company has not yet signed any US partnerships but is in the process of launching a free-play site targeting the US market, backed by aggressive marketing.
She also revealed that Winamax has set up a corporate structure in Delaware and is considering another office, either in New York or California to support its free-play operations and may consider opening a US office in either New York or California.
Company execs have been active in establishing communications and exchanging views with US card rooms, Indian tribes, racetracks and casinos.
In a recent interview, Frichet said that the company wanted to launch a US Winamax brand and a B2B network.
"To achieve this we want to sign with an established partner who can provide access to licences in several states, California being the flagship state, and who is looking for an operator who has the expertise, know-how and powerful technology and is adaptable to the US market," she said.