On Friday, Golden Nugget and ChiliGaming announced that the two companies would be joining forces to offer free-play online poker in the US. The first hands…
Caitlyn Willows, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License

On Friday, Golden Nugget and ChiliGaming announced that the two companies would be joining forces to offer free-play online poker in the US. The first hands are expected to hit the virtual felt “within the next quarter [...] in anticipation of the legalization of online gaming in the United States.”

According to Golden Nugget’s Chairman and Owner, Tilman J. Fertitta, the choice to partner with ChiliGaming was an easy one because “they were experienced in online gaming in Europe and demonstrated incredible passion, talent and knowledge which our team found to far exceed their competitors.”

The strategic positioning by Golden Nugget is the latest by a US entity to offer free-play online poker with an eye towards a regulated real-money environment in the US. The South Point casino currently offers free-play online poker via the ZEN Network and the California Online Poker Association (COPA) partnered with online gaming software providers Platech and Scientific Games to launch its free-play site CalShark in October 2011.

Fertitta commented further, “we believe that online gaming is inevitable in the United States and that the Golden Nugget will be well positioned to compete when US laws allow for online gaming.”

ChiliGaming, the French-based iGaming collective, operates the real-money ChiliPoker room on the iPoker Network – including an ARJEL-licensed French operation on chilipoker.fr – along with online sportsbook, bingo and casino products.

The ChiliPlay platform which includes Android, iPhone and iPad applications, browser-based flash client, a multi-platform Adobe AIR download and Facebook apps integration, launched its a free-play social media gaming platform in the US market last September.