Stations to test online waters

March 12, 2002 9:50 AM
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While most casino operators have taken a “hands off” and “wait and see” approach to Internet gaming, Station Casinos is poised to wade heavily into the mostly uncharted waters.

Last month, Stations announced it would purchase 50 percent of an online wagering venture, and later this month it plans to participate in a major Internet Gaming Summit.

“Our strategy for the Internet business is threefold,” said Lorenzo Fertitta, president of Station Casinos. “First, create a convenient and entertaining wagering experience; second, market the credibility of our land-based operations; and, third, maintain the highest level of regulatory compliance.”

Toward those ends, Stations will be partnering with Sun ­­International in the development of an Internet wagering site, SunOnline.

Last September, SunOnline was awarded one of the first of three online gaming licenses granted by the Isle of Man. In December, SunOnline commenced operations as {www.CasinoAtlantis.com}.

The site is operated under strict Isle of Man regulations, and prohibits wagering from jurisdictions that do not permit Internet wagering including the U.S.A.

“The combination of Station and Sun will bring together complementary skills in both operating and marketing this business,” Fertitta said.

Stations investment in the Internet site will be about $5 million, and the transaction still needs regulatory approval. The deal is expected to close by the third quarter of this year.

In the meantime, Stations will participate in the 2nd annual World Internet Gaming Summit, to be held March 21-22 in Miami, Florida.

The conference will be chaired by Tony Fontaine, vice president of complex business solutions for Station Casinos.

Experts from the fields of gaming, law, regulation and the Internet will discuss the state of online gaming, where it is going and how to get there. Also expected to be covered is the development of emerging technologies and e-cash solutions, and untapped areas of growth.

This year’s summit will also feature pre- and post-conference workshops. The pre workshop, hosted by Marc Lesnick, president of Startcasino.com, will provide an opportunity to learn the ins and outs of the industry while meeting the software providers and marketers necessary to succeed.

The post conference, hosted by Mickey Charles, president of Sports Network, will provide sophisticated interactive experience for established industry players to elevate their businesses.

Speakers scheduled to appear include Peter Coroneos, president of the Internet Industry Association; Joseph Kelly, professor of business law, SUNY College at Buffalo; Frank Catania, president of Catania Consulting Group; John Clitheroe, attorney with Kingsley Napley & Associates; Ted Loh, president of Orient Gaming.com; Steve Toneguzzo of GGS and E-Synergies; Gary Collins, chairman of the Antiguan Betting & Gaming Committee; Maryann Morrison, president of GambleGoddess.com and CasinoWoman.com; Ken Weitzner, president of The Prescription.com; and Paul Siegel, vice president of business development for Global Cyber Licensing.com, to name a few.

For information about the summit, contact the Strategic Research Institute at {www.srinstitute.com}.