2 companies OK'd for interactive gambling licenses

Associated Press Modified: June 22, 2012 at 5:00 pm •  Published: June 22, 2012

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Nevada officials have approved the nation's first two interactive gambling licenses in a step that clears the way for online poker within state lines, even while a federal interstate gambling ban remains in place.

Members of the Nevada Gaming Commission signed off on licenses Thursday for rival slot machine manufacturers International Game Technology and Bally Technologies Inc., the first two companies to get the certification since officials approved online gambling regulations in January.

Bally and IGT now must wait for individual casino operators to be licensed for such wagering.

"I want to make it abundantly clear, IGT has absolutely no intention to compete with our casino partners," IGT executive Robert Melendres told the commission, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Bally CEO Richard Haddrill said his company has contracted with the Golden Nugget casino to provide an Internet poker product. He said he expects it to be ready for the public by the end of this year or early 2013, after routine testing and inspections from state regulators.

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