Now that the Nevada Gaming Commission has approved Gibraltar based 888.com for an interactive online poker license, the wheels are in motion to have the poker rooms up and running by this summer. At the moment the gaming commission is just doing the final analysis and testing on the poker software and should be approved for operating in the Silver State in no time.
There are several companies waiting on the sidelines for the final approval that will also be using the software platform for their poker rooms. Some of the biggest names in gaming that will be using the software and already have approved licenses to do so include: Caesars Interactive Entertainment, World Series of Poker, WMS Industries and land based casino operator Treasure Island. These are good partnerships for 888poker as they have non-exclusive arrangements, so that means they can go out and get more operators in Nevada to use their software. According to 888 Holdings CEO Brian Mattingley, he stated last year that 888 will be "well positioned" to perform strongly in Nevada. Even though they will be just going live this summer, the company won’t actually see the full positive impact of the US on their bottom line until 2015.
The company isn’t stopping in Nevada either as they have already set their sights on applying for an online gaming license in the state of New Jersey. This will be even better for 888.com who has been known in the industry for their popular casino platform as well as their poker. Unlike Nevada which only legalizes online poker, New Jersey’s online gaming laws include all forms of casino gaming products, so that means 888.com can bring in the full suite of offerings into the state for players.
Back in 2006, 888.com was one of the many companies that quickly pulled out of the US when the illegal gaming law was passed. Things have changed since the “big recession” hit back in 2008 and now more and more states are looking for ways to gain additional tax dollars and online gaming seems like one way to do just that.
The time has finally come as many European based online gaming companies are making their way over to the US now that the market has opened. To date, the Nevada Gaming Commission has approved over 20 licenses and many of them are European based companies wanting to gain their share of this huge market.
Thought of as the “holy grail” of the global online gaming industry, companies from around the world have been waiting for the US to ease online gaming laws so they could enter it on a legit basis. It wasn’t too long ago that many European companies like Sportingbet PLC would have the top management held up in airports by the feds. That is now all changing and the top guys are now coming back in to buy licenses and build their companies.
One of the main initiatives for 888.com will be to boost their advertising budgets in the US as they begin to crack this market and build up the brand awareness. Many of the companies that have online gaming licenses like Boyd Gaming, Golden Nugget, MGM Resorts International and Caesars will also be planning extensive marketing campaigns to promote online poker to players in the state.
There’s more good news. Publically traded 888.com saw the price of their stock go up recently on the news of entering the US market and that’s great for shareholders as many online gaming companies coming to the US will likely see the same.
Not forgetting where they came from, 888.com still has lots of work to do back in Europe as well. The company plans on growing the brand in countries like Spain and Italy and have seen a nine percent increase in revenues to $103 million just in the first three months. There are still lots of markets to conquer in Europe as the countries look to establish a common and consistent legal online gaming framework throughout. This is something that the US market will one day have to establish as each state begins to take notice of New Jersey and Nevada.
They say that New Jersey might be the one state that finally makes the rest of the US take notice as described by John Pappas, executive director of the Poker Player Alliance confirmed, “People view New Jersey as a bellwether state of things to come, and there will be things to come,” Pappas said. “But the dominoes won't start falling immediately. People have to understand, in New Jersey this has been going on for several years.” It’s just getting started and there’s still lots go in the US, but by the looks of things 888.com is well underway to making a big profit by 2015 and on, and they aren’t the only ones.