On Thursday, the Nevada Gaming Commission (NGC) approved online gaming operator 888 Holdings and the Treasure Island Hotel and Casino for interactive gaming licenses in the Silver State. 888, which owns and operates 888poker outside of the U.S., will provide the software for Treasure Island's online poker room when the site is up and running in Nevada.
888 will also provide an online poker platform for Caesars Interactive Entertainment and slot machine manufacturer WMS Industries in Nevada. 888 has nonexclusive business-to-business deals with all three companies.
“888 has chosen Nevada as its first U.S. market, and we are hopeful that future developments will present even greater commercial opportunities for 888’s Nevada-facing business,” 888 CEO Brian Mattingley told the NGC on Thursday, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
In an interview with PokerNews last year, Mattingly said the company will be "well positioned" to perform strongly in Nevada.
Last January, 888 Holdings extended its licensing agreement with Caesars Interactive Entertainment in a deal that will see Dragonfish, the business-to-business division of 888, power a selection of Caesars' online poker brands. Caesars was approved for an interactive gaming license in Nevada in December and hopes to use its World Series of Poker brand to capitalize on the emerging online poker market in the Silver State. 888 and Caesars already operate a WSOP-branded real-money site in Europe.
The NGC has now approved 21 companies for interactive gaming licenses, including MGM Resorts International, Fertitta Interactive, Boyd Gaming and the Golden Nugget.
Nevada residents are still waiting on the launch of legalized online poker, but the state took a major step forward last month when Gov. Brian Sandoval signed a bill into law that will allow the state to expand its customer base by entering into interstate compacts. Sandoval called for lawmakers to move quickly on the issue as the state attempts to beat New Jersey and Delaware in launching the first online poker market in the U.S.
Delaware officials have said that online gambling will be up and running in the state by September. Meanwhile, New Jersey Sen. Ray Lesniak told PokerNews that a fall launch is a "somewhat aggressive timetable, but certainly doable."