South Point Poker may beat some of the bigger names such as Caesars and MGM Resorts and be the first to offer legal online poker games in Nevada, possibly as soon as September.
Nevada gaming officials had expected the first poker sites to be up and running this December or in early 2013. However, South Point Poker was early in putting its operating system up for testing, well before license approval, and so may be able to offer cash games this autumn.
Michael Gaughan, CEO of South Point Hotel, Casino and Spa, said it is close to completing the second wave of testing, without any problems. Its license application will be considered in August and if approved, will be rubber-stamped. Then its software will be tested to ensure it meets requirements. This usually takes months but since South Point became an online free-play site last year, it chose to be tested early, hoping to be ahead of the bigger names in providing online poker in the Silver State.
“I may not be the biggest or the best, but hopefully I’ll have a head start by two or three months,” Gaughan said. As it is the first site to be tested, Nevada officials have added extra restrictions and want South Point to take things slower. “We will conform to their wishes,” Gaughan added, “but at the end of the year it will be a full blown site in Nevada. Then we’ll try and go into the other states where it is legal and do some contracts there.”
There are about three dozen applications for online poker in the pipeline and awaiting approval in the Silver State. The Nevada Gaming Commission has already sanctioned poker licenses for Bally Technologies and International Game Technology, with Shuffle Master expected to be given the go ahead sometime this week.