Station Casinos going online with Cyberarts


RIP Brian
Feb 22, 2001

But the choice of brand will raise some eyebrows...

The US land gambling group Station Casinos enjoyed widespread publicity Tuesday over its announcement that it is to launch an online poker site on Facebook this week under a brand that has historically garnered some unfortunate industry publicity - Ultimate Poker.

The owner's choice of Ultimate Poker stems from their involvement in the Ultimate Fighting Championship enterprise, which will be used by owners Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta as a promotional vehicle for the new venture.

With wide international coverage, the UFC franchise reaches millions in the target male demographic, which is very similar to the online poker audience, according to company spokesmen.

Tom Breitling, chairman of Fertitta Interactive, told a news conference that the group would use software from its subsidiary Cyberarts - acquired some time ago - to power the new product under the aegis of Ultimate Gaming.

He said that the company was launching Ultimate Poker as the first step in preparing to move between social games, such as those on Facebook, and taking cash bets as the company applies for licenses in states destined eventually to legalise online gambling.

Ultimate Gaming chief exec Tobin Prior told the news conference that the new poker site will leverage UFC’s experience in growing social networks which has seen the company develop an online social audience of 8 million users on Facebook and 2.5 million on Twitter to develop games that cross online platforms, and revealed that a mobile app will be made available later his year.

“We're also going to utilise Station Casinos’ customer relationship model, which is very important in any online enterprise,” Prior said.

Chris Derossi, who oversaw development of the Macintosh 7.01 operating system for Apple and founded CyberArts, told reporters that the Ultimate Poker product will provide a more authentic ambience and experience than many of its rivals currently online.

“We are trying to provide an authentic experience for people who care about the game,” Derossi said. “As we move from the social side of gaming to a real money space, we will have serious players.”

Content on the new site will include online bingo.

Fertitta Interactive is already pursuing licensing opportunities in Nevada, said Breitling, adding: “We view this as a global opportunity. When looking at online gaming, it’s going to be a domino effect with Nevada leading the way.”
Ugh, although I want to think of this as a positive step, it really is just another free poker site - which we have plenty of. Who knows how long it will take to get the individual licensing so really, I say again, it's just another free poker site.
These guys are among the thirty or so who have so far applied for Nevada licensing under the online poker laws and regulations that were passed in the Silver State last year and have been fully developed in 2012.

As the report above indicates, Fertitta Interactive sees this fremium site as the precursor for more authentic poker action.

The licensing process in Nevada has already started and is proceeding at a fair clip, with I think so far five being approved by the Nevada Gambling Control Board and referred to the Nevada Gaming Commission for its final imprimatur.

Nevada officials have raised hopes that the fully licensed sites will be offering real money poker within Nevada's boundaries by September-October 2012, although there seems to be some uncertainty regarding how the federal government will react.

Hopefully Gov. Sandoval and his people are already talking to their federal counterparts, because what Nevada (and possibly New Jersey) do as leaders in these uncharted waters will be closely watched and probably emulated by other states.

Some have interpreted last December's back-off on the Wire Act by the DoJ as authority for individual states to press ahead with intrastate online gambling initiatives, whilst others point out that the Nevada legislation makes real money operations subject to federal legislative approval OR approval by the Department of Justice.

Who knows - the US legal situation is usually pretty confusing and full of curved balls; one thing is for certain - the next few months are going to be extremely interesting...and there are several states showing keen interest in going online.
As the report above indicates, Fertitta Interactive sees this fremium site as the precursor for more authentic poker action.

Them among other applicants are getting their feet wet with free poker sites before securing a license, makes sense.

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