This week saw the launch of GoldenNuggetPoker.com, the latest free-play online poker site bearing the brand of a US brick-and-mortar casino company. Golden Nugget – which operates casinos in Nevada and Atlantic City – is run by president/CEO Tilman J. Fertitta, who said the free-play site was launched “in anticipation of the legalization of online gaming in the United States,” something Fertitta described as “inevitable.” While waiting for real-money play to arrive, GoldenNuggetPoker.com players can compete in tournaments for cash prizes, gift cards for restaurant brands operated by Landry’s (also owed by Tilman J.) and free hotel stays at Golden Nugget’s terrestrial operations. Tilman’s cousins are Station Casinos’ owners Lorenzo Fertitta and Frank Fertitta III, who just launched their own free-play online poker site, Ultimate Poker, earlier this month. Both are following the path blazed last October by the South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa.
The Golden Nugget site is operating on a back end supplied by Bally Technologies. In February, Golden Nugget inked a free-play tech deal with French online gambling operator Chiligaming, only to have Bally acquire Chiligaming’s B2B platform later that same month. Bally had the honor of receiving Nevada’s first online poker tech provider license 10 days ago, and Golden Nugget’s online poker operator application is awaiting its own hearing before state regulators. Bally is promising a mobile version of the Golden Nugget site over the coming months, and Bally’s integrated solution will provide a “single view of the player” across multiple distribution channels.
Turning to this week’s top-grossing mobile apps as compiled by Gamasutra, Zynga Poker rebounded from last week’s slip on the iPhone charts, rising from #6 to #3. Playtika’s Slotomania was fifth, while Zynga Slots rose to ninth place in its second week of release. On the iPad chart, Slotomania HD bested all other casino apps by taking third place, followed by Zynga Poker at #5 and regular Slotomania at #8. On the Android platform, Slotomania was at #2, followed by Zynga Poker at #3 and two Dragonplay titles – Slot City: Slot Machines and Live Holdem Poker Pro – at #4 and #5 respectively.