First Nevada online poker marketing affiliate gets OK

The State Gaming Control Board made history again Thursday with the first approval for a marketing company to participate in online intrastate poker in Nevada.

After initially approving applications for poker website operators and system manufacturers and providers this summer and earlier on Thursday, the board for the first time considered an online poker marketing affiliate application during its meeting in Las Vegas.

It recommended approval for PokerTrip Enterprises Inc. of Las Vegas, which has marketing contracts with local poker rooms and has websites promoting poker called and The Nevada Gaming Commission will have the final say on the application and could consider it as early as Sept. 20.

As a marketer that will refer players to online poker rooms, PokerTrip Enterprises will be paid on a fee basis as opposed to sharing in poker revenue. For that reason, the company and its investors were subjected to a licensing review but not the full investigation reserved for entities that are entitled to gambling revenue.

Jon Friedberg, CEO of PokerTrip, said the company launched in June 2011 and now has seven employees, with plans to expand thanks in part to the launch of online poker.

He said the company is like the “TripAdvisor of the poker industry,” where people can obtain information about casinos, games and poker tournaments “and ultimately plan where and when they would like to play poker.” The firm also sponsors poker tournaments and events.

PokerTrip tries to generate revenue by driving traffic and exposure to physical casino partners and hopes to do the same with online poker sites as a marketing affiliate, he said.

Mark Lipparelli, chairman of the State Gaming Control Board, said licensed online poker operators won’t need marketing licenses to promote their sites on their own with traditional advertising like online banner ads and search engine placements.

Outside companies like PokerTrip Enterprises delivering players to online sites for compensation do need marketing affiliate licenses, he said.