Slot maker WMS gets Nevada approval for online gaming license

Slot machine maker WMS Industries and the parent company of the Stratosphere received approval on Thursday for Nevada interactive gaming licenses from state casino regulators.

Nevada has now awarded eight interactive gaming licenses to potential providers and operators under state regulations covering the operation of online poker within Nevada’s boundaries. The Nevada Gaming Commission began licensing operators and technology providers for interactive gaming in June.

Waukegan, Ill.-based WMS is already operating online gaming in legal markets in Europe. The slot machine giant has placed its game content on free-to-play social gaming websites.

WMS Industries, a designer and developer of gaming products, was recommended as an interactive gaming system manufacturer and as a service provider.

In a statement following the commission approval, WMS President Orrin Edidin called the licensing “an important milestone in the initiatives we’ve undertaken to support our casino customers’ online gaming entertainment needs.”

Edidin said WMS plans to offer Nevada casino operators an online, real-money poker platform.

American Casino & Entertainment Properties LLC was granted an interactive gaming license as a gaming provider. In addition to the Stratosphere, the company owns the two Arizona Charlie’s casinos in Las Vegas and the Aquarius in Laughlin.

Gaming commissioners were told American Casino & Entertainment Properties would launch a free-play poker site by the end of this year. The company hopes to launch a real-money poker website sometime next year with additional approvals.

Alec Driscoll, director of gaming development at American Casino & Entertainment Properties, told the commission the company has an agreement in place with a technology provider, but was planning to make that announcement at a later date.

Nevada is the first state to legalize intrastate online wagering, and the five-member commission began issuing online poker licenses in June.

Also Thursday, the commission approved the license application Fifth Street Gaming to manage 150 slots and four table games at the Gold Spike in downtown and manage the casino at Siegel Slots and Suites in North Las Vegas.

Financial terms of the deals weren’t disclosed.

Fifth Street principal Seth Shore said the company made a commitment to covert the slot machines at the Gold Spike to ticket in-ticket out cashless gaming by November.

With the licensing approval, Fifth Street gaming expects to take over the casino operations by today .

Fifth Street is overseeing redevelopment of the Downtown Grand, the former Lady Luck, and development of Downtown3rd, a walkable district of retail, dining and entertainment outlets.

Gaming commissioners were also updated on the status of negotiations between the state’s Off-Track Pari-Mutuel Wagering Committee and Las Vegas Dissemination Co. on a deal reached in August for a new seven-year contract.

Las Vegas Dissemination provides information on races throughout the country and arranges for money wagered in Nevada to be included in the pari-mutuel pools at each track for every race.

Nevada gaming regulators had urged both sides to reach a deal to avert a shutdown that threatened to take effect last month. There are 83 sports books in Nevada that offer pari-mutuel wagering, according to the Nevada Pari-Mutuel Association.

Commissioners were asked to extend the deadline for a contract until October so that all books can approve the new arrangement.

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

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