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Top Las Vegas casino architect venturing into skill-based game design

One of the world’s top casino architects took the first step toward becoming licensed as a gaming equipment manufacturer and distributor on Wednesday.

Las Vegas-based Paul Steelman, who has designed casinos from the Strip to Vietnam and Macau, told the state Gaming Control Board that he is venturing into skill-based game design with a subsidiary to his architectural firm called Competition Interactive LLC.

The Control Board, meeting in Carson City, unanimously recommended licensing Steelman, the CEO of Steelman Partners, as a manufacturer and distributor. The Nevada Gaming Commission is expected to consider the recommendation on Feb. 23. The company’s first game is expected to be reviewed by regulators later this year.

Steelman, whose company has been in operation for 30 years, has 250 employees worldwide, 150 in Southern Nevada. Ten workers have been dedicated to Competition Interactive.

The new company drew rave reviews at last year’s Global Gaming Expo where it showed its first game, Running Rich Racing, which will likely to be the company’s first game for field testing and licensing. The game is a skill-based road-racing game with a wagering component.

Gaming regulators last year approved skill-based gaming.

Board member Terry Johnson said Steelman and his 5 percent partner in the venture, Matthew Mahaney, were well-suited for the manufacturing venture.

But regulators also cautioned them to develop regulatory compliance procedures to head off potential problems within the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act since Steelman works with partners in countries where regulators have seen problems in the past, specifically Vietnam and Russia. Board members emphasized they found no problems in Steelman’s background check.

Steelman told regulators he got his start in the business working with Steve Wynn when he developed The Mirage. Since then, he has worked with every major Las Vegas gaming company and built relationships with international companies for projects in South Africa, Cambodia, the Philippines and Australia.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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