If the luck of the Irish has anything to say about it, Paddy Power will become the first European online gaming firm to be granted a Nevada gaming license. According to eGaming Review, Paddy applied for the license in August 2010, and hopes are high that the Nevada Gaming Control Board (GCB) could approve the application as early as this November. While the GCB has a hearing scheduled for Nov. 2, chairman Mark Lipparelli told the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Howard Stutz that no agenda for the meeting has yet been set.
Paddy Power isn’t the only European gaming firm that has been making inroads in Nevada. 888 Holdings became the first international online operator to be deemed “suitable” to enter into a business partnership with Nevada licensee Caesars Entertainment, while William Hill has been acquiring local land-based and mobile sports betting outfits. But the Paddy people are actually seeking a license as a manufacturer and operator of mobile gaming devices.
As Paddy COO Breon Corcoran told eGR: “The method of applying for the manufacturer and distributors license has been used in the past by people who want to pass probity to then allow them to consider a broad number of options.” With the GCB making rapid progress toward finalizing regulations for an interstate online poker system, holding a legit Nevada gaming license would leave Paddy sitting pretty (assuming the pols in Washington get their shit together long enough to pass federal online poker legislation, which is by no means assured).
Theoretically working in Paddy’s favor is the company’s assertion that they’ve never accepted American customers’ online wagers (unlike 888, which did serve Americans pre-UIGEA, but has since said they’re very, very sorry for doing so). Paddy did have Canadian customers, at least until Feb. 14 of this year, when a gang of evil leprechauns stuffed all the Canucks into a big Guinness barrel and floated them over Niagara Falls (metaphorically speaking). Was Paddy being overcautious in jettisoning the Canucks, not wanting to be seen as even having a presence in the same time zones as the USA? Or are they just really bad at geography?