On Thursday, slot machine developers Bally Technologies and International Game Technology (IGT) became the first companies to receive online gaming licenses in Nevada. The two rivaling businesses met separately with the Nevada Gaming Commission (NGC) Thursday afternoon and were unanimously approved for licenses to act as service providers for Internet poker operators.
IGT and Bally are the first to receive online gaming licenses among more than 30 companies that applied in Nevada. In December, Nevada was the first U.S. state to approve regulations for online poker, paving the way for companies to offer the game at an intrastate level.
On Thursday, Bally was the first to receive license approval from the NGC. The business-to-business provider will offer online poker and other interactive games to Nevada casinos looking to compete in the market. Earlier this month, Bally and Aristocrat Technologies Inc. announced a partnership with Shuffle Master to create a joint iGaming platform.
Bally's next step is having its technology tested by the board and the state before it is given authorization to provide real-money games. Then it is up to casinos to earn license approval from the NGC.
"We are grateful to the State of Nevada for this opportunity," said Bally Technologies CEO Richard Haddrill on Thursday. "We look forward to Bally expanding its leadership role in this exciting new arena of online gaming."
Just hours after Bally's meeting with the NGC ended, IGT was granted its own interactive gaming service-provider and manufacturer licenses. Like Bally, IGT seeks to partner with Nevada casino operators to provide online poker.
"This is an exciting day for interactive wager-based gaming," said IGT CEO Patti Hart. "We are honored to be granted the opportunity to support our customers as they further expand their operations to include online play in the State of Nevada."
The U.S. Department of Justice issued a memo last year which paved the way for states to offer online poker. Nearly a dozen states — including California, Delaware and Iowa — have discussed the issue this year.
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*Photo courtesy of vegasbuzz.com.