January 31, 2012 / 8:00 AM / 7 years ago

Gaming firms 888, Caesars extend licensing deal to U.S.

(Reuters) - 888 Holdings Plc said a unit of private equity-owned Caesars Entertainment Corp extended its UK software licensing agreement with the British online gaming company to the United States.

888 said the agreement would see its arm, Dragonfish, power a selection of private poker brands of Caesars, one of the largest casino operators in the United States and owner of the famed Caesars Palace, once online gaming is permitted under the new regulatory regime.

“Utilising 888’s state of the art poker platform, the agreement will allow the launch of a real money offering immediately as either Federal or state based regulation is finalized and upon licensing by gaming authorities,” 888 said in a statement on Tuesday.

As U.S. states scramble for tax revenue, the potential for legalizing online poker has led casino and gaming companies MGM Resorts International and Boyd Gaming to unveil a plan to partner with online poker company Bwin.party Digital Entertainment.

Last month, 888 had said it expected core profit for 2011 to be significantly above market expectations, aided by strength in its casino and poker businesses.

888 shares, which have risen 41 percent in the last three months, closed at 47 pence on Monday on the London Stock Exchange, valuing the company at about 165 million pounds.

Reporting by Tresa Sherin Morera in Bangalore; Editing by Roshni Menon

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