Ultimate Gaming to Provide Online Poker for Peppermill, Affiliated Casinos

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Ultimate Gaming was already attracting poker players from Northern Nevada to play the company’s Internet wagering platform.

An agreement announced Thursday with Reno’s Peppermill Casino and four Northern Nevada casinos operated by the same company could grow that customer base.

Under the deal, UltimatePoker.com, the online poker room operated by Station Casinos-owned Ultimate Gaming, will become the Internet poker destination for the five casinos in Reno, Sparks and Wendover.

“The Peppermill has a pretty active poker room,” Ultimate Gaming CEO Tobin Prior said Thursday. “They will send their players looking to play online poker to us, and we’ll market to their customers.”

Prior didn’t reveal terms of the financial agreement, but the Peppermill will share in the poker revenue contributed by their players.

“We think it’s a great opportunity to grow the business,” Prior said.

UltimatePoker.com was the first regulated pay-to-play online poker website launched in the United States when it began accepting wagers in April. Through the ownership tie-in with Station Casinos, players — after opening an account online — can add money to the account and cash out winnings at any of the company’s 17 Southern Nevada casinos.

Similarly, customers at the Peppermill in Reno, the Western Village in Sparks, and the Rainbow, Peppermill and Montego Bay casinos in Wendover, will be able to deposit money for their online poker activity and cash out winnings at the five properties.

Prior said the largest percentage of UltimatePoker’s business has come from Southern Nevada. The deal with the Peppermill gives the website a stronger presence in Northern Nevada. Rival WSOP.com, which is operated by Caesars Entertainment Corp.’s interactive division, operates casino in Reno and near Lake Tahoe.

Prior said he foresees similar agreements being reached with other Nevada casinos.

The launch date for the Peppermill agreement is still being determined. Peppermill received preliminary approval from the Gaming Control Board on Wednesday for interactive gaming and the Nevada Gaming Commission needs to rule on the recommendation later this month.

Billy Paganetti, general manager of Peppermill’s Northern Nevada locations, said the agreement offers the company an ability to offer online poker to its customers.

Ultimate Gaming operates the online wagering platform for the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, which is one of six casinos licensed to Internet gaming in New Jersey.

In January, the Taj Mahal reported $858,351 in online gaming revenue, the third highest in New Jersey. Borgata and Caesars Interactive control 73 percent of New Jersey’s online gaming market.

Online gaming in New Jersey went live at the end of November and Prior said it was still early in the game.

“We know we want to do the things needed to improve our share in the market,” Prior said.

Three online poker platforms in Nevada offer wagering to players who are physically within the state’s borders: UltimatePoker, WSOP.com, and Real Gaming, which is owned by South Point.

Nevada gaming officials will break out the state’s gaming revenue results from online poker starting with the February reporting period, which will be released at the end of the month.

(c) 2014, Stephens Media LLC

- Howard Stutz covers the gaming industry for the Las Vegas Review-Journal and writes the Inside Gaming column for the LVRJ. His work appears on OnlinePokerReport via syndication with the Stephens Media GamingWire.
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