A three-member panel at the state’s Gaming Control Board voted to recommend licensing for South Point to exist as an operator, manufacturer and service provider in the web poker business.
The South Las Vegas-based casino has sought approval over the past year to become Nevada’s first real-money Internet poker site. The industry will be limited to just within Nevada at first.
“Michael Gaughan [South Point’s owner] had the vision to embrace online gaming from the beginning,” an attorney for the company told regulators. “South Point Poker is optimistic it will be the first to take real-money bets later this year.”
The company said it has “unique, patent-pending” technology for geo-location — a key issue for an intrastate market to work. The game is banned in neighboring Utah.
South Point will allow online poker cash deposits and withdrawals at its in-person cage. The company said it’s “very excited and proud to have built a home-grown product — launching this fall, maybe.”
After the Nevada Gaming Commission gives the final OK later this month and awards the license, technology inspection will need to be completed. The company indicated second and final review approval is a week away.
Control Board Chairman Mark Lipparelli said he would like an “administrative review” before the company flips on the switch. Regulators want one last look.
South Point Poker’s application is unique because it can offer online poker in-house. In Nevada, brick-and-mortar casino companies are the only entities that can operate the games, but getting the technology to do so is the hurdle. Some Nevada casinos will be relying on partnerships with existing foreign-based sites.
Delaware is the only other state with legalized online poker, but its games will be under the control of the state lottery. Some in California want the game licensed and regulated, but their efforts have always, thus far, met fierce opposition and never amounted to much.
South Point Poker has existed as a nationwide, third-party free-play site since the fall of last year. The real-money site will be separate from the free-play site.