Ongame Returns to the US with ACEP Free-Play Launch Ongame Returns to the US with ACEP Free-Play Launch
Key Takeaways
  • Just 24 hours after ACEP’s partner strikes a deal with Amaya, Ongame is debuted in a play-money environment.
  • Clients for both Windows and Mac are offered, as well as the browser-based instant play platform.
  • Mobile clients will be launched soon.

American Casino & Entertainment Properties (ACEP) unveiled Tuesday “acePLAY Poker,” a new free-play poker room using the Ongame software.

ACEP is the parent company behind the iconic Stratosphere casino in Las Vegas, and is a successful applicant for an online poker license in Nevada.

The acePLAY offering is a straight play-chips online poker site, but ACEP promises to offer exclusive Stratosphere promotions and prizes, including live tournament entries and tickets to its latest shows, through participation in the poker room.

Clients for both Windows and Mac are offered, as well as the browser-based instant play platform. Ongame mobile clients will be launched soon. Players can avoid creating a new account by connecting through Facebook, Twitter and other social media accounts. The player pool is apparently exclusive to the acePLAY site.

“With the launch of this free to play website, we can now bring the excitement of play found at our properties to anyone with Internet access, no matter their location,” Alec Driscoll, Director of Gaming Development for ACEP, is quoted as saying. “We are also positioning ACEP and for the potential approval of legalized online gaming.”

ACEP is one of three Nevada applicants that last week requested additional time to complete testing. Part of the delay was in part due to the lack of an online poker software package. With this six-month reprieve, ACEP can now look to build an online poker presence for free play ahead of a real money launch.

Ongame was once a top-five real money poker network in the United States, featuring household brands like and Betandwin (now, which acquired the network in 2005.

But in September 2006, following the passage of the UIGEA, Ongame, along with publicly traded PartyGaming and others, withdrew from the market. Those poker rooms that remained—old rivals like PokerStars, Full Tilt and UltimateBet—went on to dominate the online poker market.

In 2011, bwin merged with PartyGaming to form; the new group announced its plans to combine player pools onto the Party platform, and Ongame was sold to Amaya Gaming at the end of 2012.

Today’s launch comes just 24 hours after ACEP’s operating partner, Bally Technologies, announced it had selected the Ongame online poker platform as its preferred partner in a deal with Ongame-owner Amaya.

The free play launch is a concrete result from this rather complex web of partnerships and deals in Nevada, but now with online poker software in place, the endgame is in sight for at least one of Nevada’s future online poker operators.