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NV Licensee Profile: Boyd Gaming

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This is one of a series of profiles covering companies that hold a license to participate in Nevada’s online gambling market.

Boyd Gaming is one of the largest casino developers and operators in the world. Boyd can boast some 22 casinos under the company’s umbrella (15 of which are wholly owned by Boyd Gaming), including well-known Las Vegas properties like California Hotel, Freemont Hotel, Main Street Station, El Dorado, Gold Coast, Sun Coast, and the Orleans.

Additionally, Boyd Gaming holds full and partial stakes in multiple casinos across the US, the best known of these being the Borgata in Atlantic City, New Jersey, widely considered the best casino on the AC Boardwalk.

Details and Timeline of Boyd Gaming’s Nevada License

Boyd’s operator license allows the company to offer online poker games to residents of Nevada and visitors within the state’s borders.

Partnerships and role in Nevada market

Boyd gaming is expected to partner with the online giant (as will the MGM), and use Party Poker’s software for their online poker games. This would be the first time Party Poker’s software will be seen since they left the US market after UIGEA passed in late 2006. Party Poker was the #1 online poker room in the world prior to this, so it will be interesting to see if Party can reconnect with the US population, or if sites like Full Tilt and PokerStars have solidified themselves.

Company Overview

Boyd Gaming was the brainchild of Sam Boyd the patriarch of the Boyd family, and his son William who was a practicing attorney at the timed the family started their gaming empire. Willaim Boyd ascended to the role of CEO of Boyd Gaming after his father’s passing in 1993, and remained CEO until his retirement in 2008, turning the reins over to the first non-Boyd CEO of the company, Keith Smith.

Sam Boyd’s story is altogether amazing, but not unheard of in the early Las Vegas tales. Sam brought his family to the newly created oasis in the early 1940’s, working as everything from a dealer to a pit boss, to shift manager in the burgeoning gaming industry, all the while saving a nest egg which he eventually used to buy into the Sahara Hotel and Casino. By the mid-1970’s Sam, along with his son William had been in the casino business for going over three decades when the pair decided to get into the casino development game, which was the catalyst for the formation of Boyd Gaming on January 1, 1975.

In Las Vegas, Boyd Gaming is known for its honest dealings and open books –which led the NGC to turn to Boyd Gaming when other casinos were being investigated during the mob-days of the 1980’s, which later led to the Boyd’s assuming control of the Stardust Casino’s gaming operations.

Now the company is looking to start down a new path, as they have received approval to operated an online poker room in the state of Nevada.

Boyd Gaming Power Players

  • Executive Chairman of Boyd Gaming: William S. Boyd -William S. Boyd, along with his father Sam Boyd, founded Boyd Gaming in 1974. The former attorney turned gaming mogul has developed and operated Boyd Gaming properties since 1975, opening properties in a number of US states beginning in Nevada but also in New Jersey, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana and Mississippi.

  • Vice President of Boyd Gaming: William R. Boyd – The next Boyd that entered the now-family-business was William R. Boyd.  William R. serves as Boyd Gaming’s Vice President and oversees many of the company’s day-to-day functions. William R. started his tenure with Boyd Gaming in 1977, and worked his way up the corporate ladder to his current role in 1991. He also serves on the Boyd Gaming Board of Directors.

  • President and CEO of Boyd Gaming: Keith E. Smith – One man not in the Boyd family who plays a major role at Boyd Gaming is the company’s CEO Keith Smith. Smith has been with Boyd Gaming since 1990, and has worked in the gaming industry since the early 1980’s. Smith was promoted to Executive Vice President of Operations in 1998 and to Chief Operating Officer in 2001. In 2005,he ascended to the role of President and in 2008 took on the mantle of CEO of Boyd Gaming.

Potential in other US markets

Like most Las Vegas casino operators, Boyd Gaming will likely find the goings tough in other markets where they have no presence. But with federal lawmakers introducing bills, and Nevada’s governor signing a law that would permit inter-state online poker, who knows what the future will bring for US online poker and Boyd Gaming.


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Steve Ruddock
- Steve covers nearly every angle of online poker in his job as a full-time freelance poker writer. His primary focus for OPR is the developing legal and legislative picture for regulated US online poker and gambling.