Chalk up another bet in favor of online poker. Following suit of Caesar’s Entertainment and other big player’s in the brick ‘n mortar casino gambling industry, the operator of famed Las Vegas downtown casino, The Golden Nugget (among others), just announced that a deal has been struck with European gaming platform developer, ChiliGaming.
As reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Golden Nugget casino owner, Landry’s Restaurants of Houston (yes, the buffet at Golden Nugget is really good), will be launching a free-play poker website in the coming months, with the hope that one day online poker will be legalized and properly regulated either on a State level in Nevada or by the federal government (whichever comes first).
After having spent nine months analyzing the online poker industry, Golden Nugget Chairman, Tilman Fertitta, said he believes that regulating online poker in the United States is inevitable, and that launching a free play poker site ahead of the curve will help position itself as a formidable competitor in the U.S. sector.
The move is certainly a strategic one for Golden Nugget – and most analysts agree it’s a smart one at that. Although last month was the first overall increase in gambling revenue for the State of Nevada since 2007, downtown Las Vegas and Laughlin casinos (Landry’s bread and butter), are still experiencing a downturn. Needless to say, getting a foothold in the real money online gambling industry would do wonders for Golden Nugget.
ChiliGaming is certainly a good partner in making that a reality. Having opened an office in San Francisco, California late last year in conjunction with the launch of Chili’s free-play U.S. poker network (UIGEA compliant), the France-based company has been a big player in the European online casino market, namely through the success of it’s highly popular poker site, chilipoker.com and online casino, chilicasino.com.
Making good on it’s promise to begin winning over U.S. brick ‘n mortar casino brands, ChiliGaming’s U.S. free-play network is already gearing up to be a strong launching pad into a regulated online poker market. Optimized with social gaming features and compatible with a number of devices, including smart phones and iPads, this is going to be a solid poker network if regulations come down.