Representatives of Gibraltar-based 888 Holdings wanted to assure the Nevada Gaming Commission that the company, which operates legal Internet gaming websites in Europe, would comply with the state’s regulatory structure.
After the company spent almost two hours earlier this month making its case to the Gaming Control Board, the commission needed less than an hour Thursday to unanimously approve 888 for an interactive gaming license.
“Much has been put on the record in regards to 888,” Nevada Gaming Commission Chairman Pete Bernhard said. “All my concerns have been addressed.”
The company, which was found suitable in 2011 as a business partner with Caesars Entertainment Corp. to operate World Series of Poker-branded websites in Europe, will partner with Caesars on interactive gaming in Nevada.
The company also plans to operate a poker website for Treasure Island and is providing WMS Industries with interactive gaming technology.
“888 has chosen Nevada as its first U.S. market, and we are hopeful that future developments will present even greater commercial opportunities for 888’s Nevada-facing business,” 888 CEO Brian Mattingley told the gaming commission.
888 Holdings received Nevada’s 20th interactive gaming license. A few minutes later, Treasure Island was awarded the state’s 21st license.
Mattingley said the United Kingdom is now 888’s largest market, representing 43 percent of the company’s overall revenues.
In 2012, 888 Holdings collected $376 million in gaming revenues, the largest single-year total in the company’s history. The figure was a 13 percent increase over 2011’s total. Mattingley told the gaming commission the company’s long-term debt total is zero dollars.
888 attorney Gil White told the commission the company has taken numerous steps and implemented various systems over the years to address player protection, game security, problem gambling and underage gambling.
White said the company would maintain a reserve account in Nevada to cover 100 percent of the players’ funds.
“The company has never been sanctioned for its operations in any jurisdiction, nor is it presently involved in any material adverse litigation,” White said. “Similarly, the company and its operations have not been the subject of adverse formal action by any regulatory authority.”
Independent testing laboratories and the Gaming Control Board still need to approve the technology before any online poker website can go live in Nevada.
Contact reporter Howard Stutz at hstutz@reviewjournal .com or 702-477-3871. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.