LAS VEGAS -- Nevada finally has its third real money Internet poker website.
Real Gaming began its soft launch phase this week, joining UltimatePoker.com and WSOP.com in offering regulated online gaming to gamblers within Nevada’s boundaries.
The website is owned by Michael Gaughan’s South Point Hotel Casino and Spa and is offering tournament play and cash games across multiple platforms, including PC and Mac computers, smartphones and tablet computers.
“The true differentiator of Real Gaming is that players can access the site on any device, anywhere and anytime,” said Lawrence Vaughan, a technology expert who is serving as Real Gaming’s CEO. “We felt that this was the top priority to bring to online poker playing.”
Vaughan said the initial goal is to meet all the requirements placed on the website by state gaming regulators during the soft launch, which could take 30 days or longer to complete.
Initial marketing efforts will focus on South Point’s extensive customer database.
“For us, the job is to educate our loyal customers that this is a safe and regulated activity,” Real Gaming marketing executive Tom Mikovits said.
With three sites operating, Nevada will begin to publicly release gaming revenue figures for online poker starting with the February numbers. Those results will be available in late March.
Union Gaming Group has estimated Nevada’s two operating online poker sites generate between $250,000 and $500,000 in revenue monthly.
New Jersey’s online gaming market has six Internet casinos and includes other games besides poker, such as blackjack, roulette and slots. The Internet casinos produced $9.5 million in revenue in January, 28 percent more than in December.
David G. Schwartz, director of the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, said the revenue in Nevada probably won’t be large. The idea for Real Gaming is to get the systems operating to prove to other states that it can do business in a regulated environment.
“This will allow the company to show the technology works and generate data,” Schwartz said.
Real Gaming joins Ultimate Poker, which is operated by a subsidiary of Station Casinos, and became the state’s first legal website last April. WSOP.com, which is run by Caesars Entertainment Corp. and affiliated with the World Series of Poker, was launched in September.
South Point earned a Nevada interactive gaming license in August 2012. The company, which is operating its own technology, had been slow to gain Nevada gaming regulators’ approval.
Vaughan said the company took its time “to carefully develop” the technology.
“Unlike other online poker sites, we created Real Gaming by developing software from scratch, exclusive to us and our players,” Vaughan said. “We are utilizing the newest technologies available in order to set the foundation for future development and continued innovation.”
The Real Gaming website lets players create an account and make a deposit from anywhere before visiting Nevada. Vaughan said players can open accounts or put money on existing accounts at the South Point. They can also cash out winnings at the casino, although on a limited basis.
Gaughan became Nevada’s first casino operator to launch a free-to-play poker website in October 2011.
Gaming Control Board Chairman A.G. Burnett said the agency would “monitor closely” Real Gaming’s progress.
“This is a regular field trial of their I-gaming poker platform,” Burnett said. “Assuming a successful launch and field trial, South Point is now the third poker offering for Nevada players.”
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