South Point CEO Anticipates Fall Online Poker Launch in Nevada

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According to an interview by eGaming Review with South Point Hotel, Casino, and Spa CEO Michael Gaughan, the first legal intrastate online poker room in Nevada could be up and running by this fall. Gaughan told EGR that it is essentially just a matter of getting the gaming license, that everything is on track for launch.

One of the advantages South Point has right now is that it is already deep into the rigorous independent testing process for its software, as required by Nevada law. Said Gaughan, “We’re finishing up our second wave of testing and so far no problems.”

Gaughan did not give details on which independent testing lab has been looking at the South Point product, but considering Gaming Laboratories International and BMM International were licensed by Nevada last month to test interactive gaming equipment, one might guess it is one of those two.

No companies who would actually operate online poker sites have been granted licenses yet, but it has been reported that at least 30 applications have been filed. EGR reports that South Point should be one of the operators that whose license will be approved in August. Gaughan believes that his site should launch shortly thereafter.

To his credit, Gaughan has no illusions that a new South Point online poker room will become the next PokerStars. “I may not be the biggest or the best,” he said, “but hopefully I’ll have a head start by two or three months.”

Being a first mover has its disadvantages, of course. In the interview, Gaughan said “…the regulator is putting a few more restrictions on us, and wants us to start a little slower than we would like. We will conform to their wishes, but at the end of the year it will be a full blown site in Nevada”

Gaughan has a long-term vision, as well, with future plans to expand into other states where online poker is legalized.

Gaughan’s company already operates, a legal, free online poker site on the ZEN Entertainment Network, launched late last year. The sites on the network are advertising supported and offer up to $100,000 in cash and prizes each month. Back in September, before the site even went live and before online gaming regulations were in place in Nevada, Gaughan already had his sights set on bigger and better things. He told Gaming Today, “This is an experiment for me. I’m just getting my feet wet but I expect that down the line I am going to be applying for an intrastate license.”

That experiment has not exactly gone to plan, though. Gaughan told EGR that the site has not seen the success that he would’ve liked. “”It (the software) was complicated and hard to download,” he said. “[The poor results were] partly down to the provider and partly because I lost interest in it when it didn’t grow as fast as I thought it would.”

The software currently going through the independent testing process is completely different than the software that uses.

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