Ireland-based gambling company take steps to be licensed in Nevada

An Irish gambling company could become the first European online gaming operator licensed in Nevada.

Paddy Power, which has Internet gambling websites in Europe and Australia, is seeking approval from Nevada gaming regulators for a license as a manufacturer and operator of mobile gaming devices.

The licensing is viewed as a precursor for Paddy Power to seek approval for a Nevada-based Internet poker website, should the federal government legalize the activity.

Paddy Power is headquartered in Dublin. The company provides fixed-odds sports betting in Ireland and the United Kingdom through licensed betting offices and Paddy Power Dial-a-bet, an Irish telephone gambling service.

The company’s PaddyPower.com has never accepted wagers from American gamblers, company officials said.

United Kingdom website eGamingReview reported that Paddy Poker could be licensed by Nevada gaming officials in November. However, Gaming Control Board Chairman Mark Lipparelli said the agenda for the panel’s Nov. 2 hearing isn’t set yet.

Paddy Power filed its Nevada gaming license application in August 2010 and has been participating in the investigative process.

The company wants to become involved in the mobile gaming business, which is expected to expand now that the Legislature and state gaming authorities have approved regulations allowing the activity to take place in hotel rooms and other nongaming areas of a hotel-casino.

A license would put Paddy Poker ahead of other online gaming companies planning to seek a gaming license for a Nevada Internet poker website.

“The method of applying for the manufacturer and distributors license has been used in the past by people who want to pass probity to then allow them to consider a broad number of options,” Paddy Power Chief Operating Officer Breon Corcoran told eGamingReview.

In March, Gibraltar-based 888 Holdings was deemed by Nevada gaming regulators to be a suitable business partner for Caesars Entertainment Corp. The decision marked the first time Nevada regulators have signed off on a state-licensed gaming company working with a foreign Internet gaming operator.

However, 888, which operates online gaming websites in the United Kingdom under the Caesars brands, including the World Series of Poker, must apply for a Nevada gaming license if it wishes to operate Internet poker in the United States.

It’s unclear whether Congress will take up legalization of Internet poker before the current session ends in 2012. The American Gaming Association, last week, came out in favor of the activity being legalized and regulated to protect American consumers.

The Gaming Control Board held its first public input session Monday on proposed regulations covering Internet poker in Nevada. Lipparelli said he hopes to have the rules approved by both the control board and Nevada Gaming Commission in December.

Besides sports wagering, Paddy Power’s online casino offers wagering slot games and table games, including blackjack and roulette.

Contact reporter Howard Stutz at hstutz@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3871.
Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.

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