The Nevada state Gaming Control Board has given preliminary approval to Bally Technologies Inc. to become the first licensed Internet gaming company in the United States in what is seen as a wave of the future in the casino industry.
Board Chairman Mark Lipparelli called it “another step forward but it’s not the last,” as the three-member board unanimously supported the application of Bally, a longtime supplier of gambling equipment.
John Connelly, vice president of business development for the company, said 50 casinos, many of them in Nevada, are interested in buying or leasing what he called Bally’s “infrastructure” system to permit players, using their mobile phones and computers, to tie into casinos to make wagers.
Because of a federal law, bets will only be taken inside Nevada. And the system must ensure that no one under 21 years old is permitted to play.
Depending on what the casinos want, they will be able to use systems for table games, slot machines, poker, bingo and sports betting.
But it will be a while before such interactive Internet gambling is put into operation.
Connelly said there must be testing to ensure the play is limited to Nevada and that juveniles are prohibited from betting.
Connelly said the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas is operating a free Internet poker game available outside Nevada. He said there have been 1,056 players who have registered. It is allowed to operate because it is free.
Final approval must be received from the state Gaming Commission that meets June 21 in Las Vegas.