Updated 

Casino execs to debate merits of online gaming at conference in Las Vegas


As Nevada approaches its first anniversary in the online gaming market, experts from all corners of the industry — and their opposition — will gather for the iGaming North America 2014 conference next week at Planet Hollywood.

Those scheduled to speak between Wednesday and Friday include Gov. Brian Sandoval and top brass from Nevada’s first online poker sites, as well as a Las Vegas casino executive at the forefront of a massive effort to shut down web gambling in the United States.

About 700 people are expected to attend the conference, which is not open to the public. Admission passes range from $595 to $1,495.

Tom Breitling, the chairman of Ultimate Gaming, and its CEO, Tobin Prior, will give the keynote speech. Their company launched the first regulated online poker site to offer real-money play in the U.S. through Ultimate Poker in Nevada and now operates a site in New Jersey.

They will “offer a look back at the difficulties encountered, the initial successes and the huge possibilities for the future,” according to the program.

The conference has gained particular traction among web gaming insiders since the U.S. Department of Justice shut down the three biggest unregulated online poker sites in 2011.

Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey have since legalized online gaming, and there has been a push for legalization in other states and in some cases federally. On the other hand, Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman Sheldon Adelson has launched a crusade to ban online gambling.

The debate at Planet Hollywood could heat up when Sands executive Andy Abboud and Caesars Interactive Entertainment CEO, Mitch Garber, discuss the future of Internet wagering. Even the program for the event acknowledges their “widely divergent views” on the subject.

Caesars-owned WSOP.com followed Ultimate Poker in the Nevada and New Jersey markets before South Point’s Real Gaming started taking bets from online players in Nevada last month.

Sandoval is expected to offer his observations of the first year of online gaming in the state.

Last month, Sandoval and Delaware Gov. Jack Markell signed the first interstate online gambling agreement, which would allow the two states to share Internet poker player pools. Traffic at Nevada’s three online poker sites often reflects the state’s small population, and one group at the conference plans to discuss new ways to attract more players.

The conference also includes a conversation on alternative payment processing, as some banks have rejected transactions with regulated sites.

Contact reporter David Ferrara at dferrara@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5290.

 

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