| LOS ANGELES, March 6
LOS ANGELES, March 6 European online gaming
operator 888 Holdings Plc cleared a key hurdle in its
return to a reopening, regulated U.S. online poker market after
the Nevada Gaming Control Board voted to recommend approval of
its application for a state interactive gaming license at a
hearing scheduled for March 21.
The Nevada Gaming Control Board on Wednesday said it
recommended the approval of Gibraltar-based 888's applications,
including one as a manufacturer of an interactive gaming system,
one as a distributor and another as an interactive gaming
The company plans to work in partnership with Caesars
Entertainment Corp in Nevada and has long viewed the
state as a huge growth market. Calls and emails to company
officials were not immediately returned.
888 Holdings operates World Series of Poker websites with
Caesars in Britain and operates other online gaming sites
Caesars and 888 have said that once licensed they would
launch a World Series of Poker website in Nevada. Caesars'
Interactive unit won approval to operate an online poker service
in Nevada from gaming regulators earlier this year.
The Nevada Gaming Commission will take up the Control
Board's favorable recommendations for 888 on March 21 in Las
888 was a major participant in the U.S. market, gaining
online expertise that Las Vegas casinos seek, prior to 2006 when
Internet betting was explicitly barred by Congress.
The U.S. Department of Justice in late 2011 clarified its
stance regarding online wagering, which it had long considered
illegal, and this paved the way for states to unilaterally
legalize some forms of online gambling.
Late last month, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie approved
online gaming in the Garden State, joining Nevada and Delaware
in the race to capture what is seen as an online bonanza.
Several other states, including Massachusetts, California,
Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa and Mississippi, are weighing some kind
of online gambling legislation.
About 85 countries have legalized online gambling and an
estimated $35 billion is bet online worldwide each year,
including millions of people in the United States through
offshore websites, according to the American Gaming Association.