888: first US licensed online gambling company

888 licensed in United States

On Thursday 21 March 888 Holdings Plc was awarded a license to be an ‘Interactive Gaming Service Provider’ by the Nevada Gaming Commission.

The news wasn’t unexpected. Earlier in March the Nevada Gaming Control Board had already recommended 888 be granted their license and partnership deals with Caesars Interactive, Treasure Island and WMS Gaming done in anticipation of 888’s license approval were already in place.

But it is a very significant development.

888 Holdings, owners of a range of online brands including 888 Poker and 888 Casino becomes the first pure online gambling company based outside the US to obtain a license to offer it’s product online in the United States. Some reports are saying 888 Poker may be online and available to Nevada residents as early as May.

888 CEO Brian Mattingley was understandably happy that his company had finally cleared a hurdle that they had been working towards ever since exiting the US in 2006 after UIGEA was passed.

“This is an historic moment for 888… the first time a company uniquely providing online gaming has been licensed by any US jurisdiction.”

“Seen in the industry as the gold standard of global gaming regulation, we are delighted to have been awarded our licence to operate in the State of Nevada, a decision that vindicates our US strategy. We look forward to working with all our strategic partners and to re-launching the 888 brand in the US…”

888 will now enter the market as a ‘B2C’ operator accepting player registrations under the 888 Poker brand using using the Treasure Island casino operator’s licence in a deal that will give Treasure Island a clip of the ticket on revenues. Additionally 888’s ‘B2B’ division Dragonfish will power the online poker games of Caeasars Interactive and  WMS Gaming, both of whom have already received their licenses to go online in Nevada.

For the time being Nevada’s online gambling laws are strictly a poker only affair, so we won’t be seeing any live dealer action there any time soon.

New Jersey is a different story so we may see even more interesting developments there in coming months.

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