888 have signed a strategic agreement with land-based supplier WMS Gaming to develop an online poker solution in the U.S.A. The terms of the deal mean WMS can offer 888’s online poker product in any casino that contains WMS equipment. In the first instance it will be a play-for-fun offering and we’re assuming it will eventually evolve into play-for-real if and when the legislation allows it.
Brian Mattingley, CEO of 888, recognized that it “provides an opportunity to build a substantial online presence” before stating: “By deploying our joint online poker solution, casino operators in the United States will be able to provide their customers with a robust and secure network with the liquidity and games offering to give the best possible player experience.”
Orrin J. Edidin, president of WMS, added: “Aligning our efforts with 888 Holdings will allow WMS to provide our casino operator customers with the capabilities and benefits from one of the world’s most experienced online poker operators which will significantly support their efforts to benefit from online poker in the United States as it becomes legal.”
It’s another strand in 888’s U.S. strategy that has already seen them hook up a joint venture with none other than Caesars Entertainment. That was finally signed by their B2B arm Dragonfish in January and it’s likely that 888, Caesars and WMS will all join up to make quite the solution. The original deal with Caesars was the only to survive the events of Black Friday and seems to show that this was indeed their “White Knight”.
The outlook now is very different to just over a year ago when the constant bungling over a deal to merge with Ladbrokes spelled an end to CEO Gigi Levy’s place at the firm. It’s a case of what might have been for both sides and it certainly looks like 888 has done a lot better than Ladbrokes out of the events in 2011.