The Nevada Gaming Commission has given its blessing to Station Casinos’ desire to use its own software in Nevada’s newly regulated online poker market. Station Casinos’ digital offshoot Fertitta Interactive was granted an interactive gambling operator license in October 2012, but Thursday’s Gaming Commission hearing was to approve an interactive gaming service provider license for Ultimate Gaming, which used to operate under the name CyberArts until acquired by Fertitta Interactive in October 2011.
Unlike the rest of the casinos that have received interactive gambling licenses, Fertitta Interactive has no desire to hitch its wagon to an existing online poker operator’s star, preferring to control its own destiny. The Las Vegas Sun quoted Ultimate Gaming chairman Thomas Breitling telling the Commission that keeping things in-house would allow the company to respond more quickly to address potential changes regulators may demand in future. CEO Tobin Prior said the Ultimate Gaming software was still being put through its paces by the Nevada Gaming Control Board, which has yet to formally approve any applicant’s technology.
While Ultimate Gaming CMO Joe Versaci recently told CalvinAyre.com that the Nevada-based company would “eventually need to look outside our borders to see continued growth,” Breitling appears to believe that (initially, at least) if you build it, they will come to you. Breitling told the Commission that he saw great potential in the fact that Nevada receives 47m visitors annually, some of whom Breitling expects will enjoy a little online poker during their stay. Breitling said Nevada was “a real market with real revenues,” possibly up to $100m worth.
The Commission also signed off on a restructuring of Fertitta Interactive’s ownership, approving Breitling holding a 14.3% stake in the company, while Station Casinos retains majority control with a 57.3% stake. Finally, the Commission approved an interactive service provider license for SecureTrading Inc., the US subsidiary of UK online payment processor UC Group Ltd. SecureTrading, which has been waiting for this opportunity for three years now, will provide operators with payment processing, customer identification and geolocation services.