State gaming regulators gave preliminary approval Thursday to a marketing agreement between Golden Gaming and Gibraltar-based 888 Holdings in which the tavern operator could deliver its customers as online poker players to a website that includes Treasure Island.
Under terms of the exclusive marketing agreement, Golden Gaming can sign up customers from its three Pahrump casinos and its 40 wholly owned statewide taverns operations to play online poker on a planned website that will be operated by 888 Holdings.
Golden Gaming would share in a percentage of the gaming revenues with Treasure Island and 888 Holdings.
“It’s unique and allows Golden Gaming to market 888’s platform to its customers,” Golden Gaming attorney Michael Alonso told the Gaming Control Board.
Alonso said Golden Gaming does not have any role in the operation of the website, and is only a marketing vehicle to deliver players. He told regulators the agreement is a way for 888 Holdings to expand its online gaming operation into the locals market and Pahrump. The customer base for Treasure Island, which is owned by Phil Rufin, is the Strip.
Golden Gaming is expected to market the 888 website through various interactive programs and other means.
Alonso told the control board that Golden Gaming slot machine route operations, where the company is the third party operator of slot machines inside grocery stores, taverns, bars and other businesses, would not be part of the agreement with Treasure Island and 888. Alonso said a deal might be reached in the future in which the location could receive a fee for signing up players.
Regulators recommended the concept’s approval, saying the arrangement could add more players to Nevada’s interactive gaming community.
“This is a good example of new ideas coming to the marketplace,” Control Board Chairman A.G. Burnett said. “It’s an attempt to add further liquidity. I, for one, welcome it.”
The Nevada Gaming Commission will have to sign off on the agreement on Sept. 26.
If approved, the agreement would go live when Treasure Island launches its website. Currently, Station Casinos-owned Ultimate Gaming has the state’s only real money regulated online poker website in operation.
888 Holdings plans to operate poker websites for Caesars Entertainment, under the World Series of Poker Brand, Treasure Island, and its 888 poker website. Golden Gaming would only share in the revenues if a customer signs up to play on either the Treasure Island or 888 website.
The World Series of Poker website is expected to launch shortly. Treasure Island is expected to follow.
Alonso said the marketing agreement would take effect when Treasure Island launches its website.