888 Holdings would team with Treasure Island to offer online poker

The Strip-side property opened in 1993.

Two more companies took a step toward joining Nevada’s interactive gaming license club Wednesday after the state Gaming Control Board unanimously approved recommendations for foreign and domestic operators.

The two newest potential entries — 888 Holdings of Gibraltar and Las Vegas-based Treasure Island — would be the first added since Gov. Brian Sandoval signed legislation that changes the state’s interactive gaming landscape.

If approved by the Nevada Gaming Commission at its March 21 meeting, 888 Holdings and Treasure Island would be the 20th and 21st companies to receive interactive gaming licenses in the state.

The two prospective licensees have a common bond: 888 Holdings intends to collaborate with Treasure Island, as well as WMS Gaming and Caesars Entertainment, to offer online poker using its technology and experience in the European market. Officials with 888 Holdings told regulators they intend to build a World Series of Poker website for Caesars.

Regulators spent about two hours questioning 888 Holdings executives, who said their software would be able to detect a player’s location and collusion among players, as well as validate a player’s age. They said they also could detect and head off problem gambling.

The board noted that 888 Holdings was among the companies that stopped taking wagers from American players once the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was approved in 2006. That puts it in compliance with the recently signed interactive poker law signed by Sandoval last month.

In an interview after the hearing, Control Board Chairman A.G. Burnett said the 19 companies already approved for intrastate gaming wouldn’t have to reappear before the board to be eligible to offer interstate poker play, because the new legislation removes previous state restrictions and won’t require additional licensing questions.

“We’re up and running,” Burnett said. “I think a good way to think of it is that there was a barrier to our gaming companies offering bets into other states that was created by the Legislature. That barrier has been removed. However, there are still federal and state barriers out there that they have to be cautious of and wary of. They just don’t have that Nevada stricture anymore.”

Two other companies seeking licenses as service providers for interactive gaming components also were recommended for approval by the board.

Player Verify LLC, Franklin, Tenn., won approval from the board with its plan to work with gaming companies and players on a website that would alert companies of a problem gambler’s desire not to receive marketing information from any casino.

XYVerify, New York, also was recommended for approval to provide geolocation technology that would pinpoint a prospective player’s location using cellular telephone tower triangulation with GPS technology to validate whether a prospective player is within a state’s boundaries and eligible to play Internet poker.