This is one of a series of profiles covering companies that hold a license to participate in Nevada’s online gambling market.
Fertitta Interactive is part of the Fertitta Empire that includes Station Casinos and the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
Fertitta Interactive applied for an online operator license in February of 2012. Like all of the online operator applicants the license essentially expands their current Nevada license to cover online poker as well as their brick & mortar activities.
In Early October, 2012 Fertitta Interactive received preliminary approval from the Nevada Gaming Control Board in a public hearing. As with all applicants Fertitta Interactive would still need final approval from the Nevada Gaming Commission, which would come just a few weeks down the road.
On October 18, 2012 Fertitta Interactive joined the ranks of GNLV, ACEP, Boyd Gaming, Monarch Casino and South Point when the Nevada Gaming Commission approved their license application.
Fertitta Interactive has decided to go it alone in the Nevada online poker industry. Instead of entering into a strategic partnership with an established software provider, the Fertitta brand decided to purchase their own software company CyberArts, and develop their online poker software in-house, essentially from scratch. While seen as a very risky undertaking, Fertitta Interactive still managed to launch a “decent” online poker platform, and more importantly was the first, and at this time the only, poker room to do so.
The Fertittas burst onto the gaming scene in 2006, with a leveraged buyout of Station Casinos that took the company from a publicly traded corporation to a privately owned business. Under the guidance of the Fertittas, Station Casinos (along with Fiesta Casinos and Wildfire Gaming properties) have become known for their excellent customer service and perks, which has made them a favorite among locals.
The Fertittas have also used the new reality-show focused TV programming to their advantage, putting together a reality-based show showing the day-to-day operations of their Green Valley Ranch property, as well as the highly successful The Next Ultimate Fighter.
Here is a look at the properties owned and operated by the Fertittas:
Green Valley Ranch
Red Rock Resort Spa and Casino
Santa Fe Station
Lake Mead Lounge
The Greens Cafe
Wild Wild West
In addition to Station Casinos, Fertitta Interactive is also under the umbrella of the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship), the wildly successful Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) company headed by Dana White. The UFC and Ultimate Poker “partnership” will likely be a driving force behind the Fertitta Interactive marketing plans for their online poker room.
Prior to Black Friday, Station Casinos had entered into a tentative partnership with Full Tilt Poker, which would have provided the software for Fertitta Interactive in Nevada. However, with Full Tilt’s issues post-Black Friday the deal was voided, and Fertitta Interactive was born. Fertitta Interactive would later make several strategic acquisitions, including CyberArts, allowing Fertitta Interactive to develop their own online poker software, which they branded Ultimate Poker, as a tie-in with their already established Ultimate Fighting brand.
Regardless of how Ultimate Poker pans out in the future, the site will go down in poker history as the first licensed online poker room in the United States: Ultimate Poker launched on April 30, 2013, and as of writing they are still the only real-money online poker room operating in Nevada.
Fertitta Interactive has four co-founders:
Thomas C. Breitling Co-Founder
Frank J. Fertitta III Co-Founder
Lorenzo J. Fertitta Co-Founder
Timothy N. Poster Co-Founder
But the driving force behind everything the company does is the Fertitta brothers, Frank and Lorenzo. Frank Fertitta serves as the Chairman and CEO while Lorenzo acts as the Vice-Chairman. Breitling is a lifelong casino man, having managed, owned and operated casinos ranging from the Golden Nugget to Wynn Resorts.
The group heading Fertitta Interactive is one of the most youthful in the business which may give them a slight advantage in marketing towards the younger demographic that is attracted to online poker.
With an already established brand (Ultimate) Fertitta Interactive has a leg-up on a lot of their competition should they be afforded a license in another market.
However, precisely how online poker in the United States will play out remains to be seen, and whether or not federal legislation or interstate compacts are added will determine whether or not Fertitta Interactive goes national or is relegated to being a Nevada provider.
Fertitta Interactive Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/company/ultimate-gaming
Fertitta Interactive Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/UltimatePoker
Fertitta Interactive Twitter: https://twitter.com/UltimatePoker
Fertitta Interactive Corporate page: http://www.fertittaentertainment.com/about-us/