PaddyPower, Shuffle Master Clear Nevada Suitability Hearings

Correction: This article originally stated that PaddyPower had applied for an online poker license in Nevada when in fact they were just pursuing clearance of suitability.

The approval process for online poker licensing in Nevada moved forward again on Tuesday with Shuffle Master passing the suitability hearing phase before the Nevada Gaming Commission.

With this latest addition the total number of corporate entities passing the commission’s hearing process has reached three. Both of the previous firms to clear the hearing—Bally Tech and IGT—were subsequently approved by the NGC for full licensing.

Shuffle Master joins the “manufacturer/provider” category of firms who will offer interactive gaming systems, the same role occupied by Bally Tech and IGT.

Shuffle Master’s approval comes only days after the Las Vegas-faced firm, a dominant player in the casino-equipment market, dropped its attempts to purchase the Ongame Network from its owners,

The €29.5m deal to purchase Ongame collapsed due to several factors, including the increasing antiquity of the venerable network, which still includes bwin poker, and the network’s previous US-facing business for several years before the late-2006 passage of the UIGEA.

Several other US-facing poker sites from the pre-UIGEA era have paid settlements to US federal officials, whereas a settlement regarding Ongame’s business has never been reached. Current Ongame parent has subsequently claimed six new suitors for the software platform in a recent press release, though whether any of them is eying the US market remains undisclosed.

PaddyPower, by contrast, was just pursuing suitability clearence. It is an Irish sports-betting firm with a prominent web presence, including an online poker site, but with no previous history of US-facing business and no current ties to Nevada gambling or entertainment corporations. Besides the UK, where the brand is a market leader, PaddyPower serves large market segments in Australia and Canada.

Both Shuffle Master and PaddyPower are likely to receive formal approval later this month.