Friday June 8, 2012 :  IGT AND WILL HILL APPROVED FOR NEVADA LICENSING (Update)
 
Two more top companies join Bally on Nevada Gaming Control Board approved list
 
Following the approval of the Bally Technology application for online gambling licensing earlier this week, the Nevada Gaming Control Board has given its approval for two more leading companies, International Game Technology and the British group William Hill plc.
 
Board Chairman Mark Lipparelli said both companies must submit their technologies to the state for testing, particularly with regard to measures to prevent underage and out-of-state gambling.
 
In a statement on its success at Thursday's meeting of the Board, IGT announced that it has received approval for an interactive gaming service provider and manufacturer license.
 
"We are honored to be one of the first recommended providers by the Nevada Gaming Control Board," said Patti Hart, IGT chief executive officer. "This important step will allow IGT to better support our customers as they expand their offerings to their players to include interactive wager based entertainment."
 
The company's announcement acknowledged that the final decision will be made by the Nevada Gaming Commission, which is scheduled to meet on June 21.
 
Robert Melendres, executive vice president of IGT, said interactive gaming operations in his company employ 400 people, whilst Crystian Terry, director of casino operations went into some detail on the care the company takes to verify age, location and identity of online players.
 
Questioned on the activities of recently acquired Entraction, company representatives said that due diligence checks prior to the purchase had not uncovered American activity, which was in any case less than one percent of the company's business.
 
Once discovered, the activity had been immediately halted, the company claimed, adding that it was liaising with the Department of Justice to ascertain if any penalties would be imposed.
 
The British online and land gambling operator William Hill plc was subjected to extensive questioning in the three hour NGCB hearing, but was ultimately successful.
 
The company owns three Nevada sports books it acquired last year – Leroy’s, Lucky’s and Club Cal Neva – and said that its intention is to consolidate and re-brand in a project that will ultimately cost over $60 million.
 
Board members focused especially on William Hill's joint venture enterprise with the Playtech plc online gambling software developer, questioning the background of principal Playtech shareholder Teddy Sagi.
 
It was noted that Playtech has submitted a separate application for licensing. The company's legal representatives were also quizzed regarding William Hill's pre-UIGEA American activity.
 
In a detailed presentation, company representatives portrayed the online gambling business as an engine for growth
 
Observing the process remotely on a live stream feed, Nevada Gaming Commission member Randolph Townsend commented that it was apparent that whilst regulators frowned on historic operations that conflicted with the outdated Wire Act, this was not necessarily grounds for disqualification
 
At one point in the hearing it appeared that chairman Mark Lipparelli would give William Hill only a conditional approval subject to a probationary period, but this route was not taken after argument by the company's representatives and comment by members of the board that William Hill was a well-respected company with a professional management.