Wednesday June 20, 2012 : U.S. LAND CASINO LAUNCHES FREE ONLINE POKER SITE
 
But the choice of brand will raise some eyebrows…
 
The US land gambling group Station Casinos enjoyed widespread publicity Tuesday over its announcement that it is to launch an online poker site on Facebook this week under a brand that has historically garnered some unfortunate industry publicity – Ultimate Poker.
 
The owner's choice of Ultimate Poker stems from their involvement in the Ultimate Fighting Championship enterprise, which will be used by owners Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta as a promotional vehicle for the new venture.
 
With wide international coverage, the UFC franchise reaches millions in the target male demographic, which is very similar to the online poker audience, according to company spokesmen.
 
Tom Breitling, chairman of Fertitta Interactive, told a news conference that the group would use software from its subsidiary Cyberarts – acquired some time ago – to power the new product under the aegis of Ultimate Gaming. He said that the company was launching Ultimate Poker as the first step in preparing to move between social games, such as those on Facebook, and taking cash bets as the company applies for licenses in states destined eventually to legalise online gambling.
 
Ultimate Gaming chief exec Tobin Prior told the news conference that the new poker site will leverage UFC’s experience in growing social networks which has seen the company develop an online social audience of 8 million users on Facebook and 2.5 million on Twitter to develop games that cross online platforms, and revealed that a mobile app will be made available later his year.
 
“We’re also going to utilise Station Casinos’ customer relationship model, which is very important in any online enterprise,” Prior said.
 
Chris Derossi, who oversaw development of the Macintosh 7.01 operating system for Apple and founded CyberArts, told reporters that the Ultimate Poker product will provide a more authentic ambience and experience than many of its rivals currently online.
 
“We are trying to provide an authentic experience for people who care about the game,” Derossi said. “As we move from the social side of gaming to a real money space, we will have serious players.”
 
Content on the new site will include online bingo.
 
Fertitta Interactive is already pursuing licensing opportunities in Nevada, said Breitling, adding: “We view this as a global opportunity. When looking at online gaming, it’s going to be a domino effect with Nevada leading the way.”