Nevada Gaming Commission regulators made history on Thursday by granting the first two interactive gaming licenses to Nevada slot-machine makers Bally Technologies and International Game Technology (IGT). The two companies are formally approved to supply online poker network infrastructure for other clients.
Bally received the first NGC seal of approval, followed by IGT just 45 minutes later. Both firms had previously cleared suitability hearings, rendering the official approvals something of a formality.
Both companies are expected to negotiate deals with Nevada’s land-based casinos, providing them with the hardware and software necessary to support Nevada’s pending intrastate online poker rooms, which are expected to begin launching later this year.
Both Bally and IGT bring a measure of online poker experience to the table. Bally recently launched a play-money room on behalf of Las Vegas’ downtown Golden Nugget casino and has partnered with Shuffle Master—now owner of the Ongame poker network—to add a real-money gaming solution to their offerings.
IGT has acquired European poker network Entraction, giving it a ready-made platform for the new offerings.
In a separate action, the NGC also approved European online bookmaking giant William Hill’s application to provide bookmaking services in Nevada. William Hill had previously acquired American Wagering, Inc. in a $55m deal.
More than 20 other casinos, manufacturers and service providers have applied for Nevada licenses, with more suitability and approval hearings slated for the coming weeks.