Bally Technologies Incorporated is now America’s first company to get an official online gaming license, setting a precedent for a country that has been plagued with doubts about the legitimacy of online gambling.
The license was issued to Bally by the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB), and has gotten the moss-covered stone of the legality of online gaming rolling at last. In Illinois, online lottery tickets are already available for major state lotteries, but this is the first time a private company has been given the green light to legally operate online gambling games. The chairman of the NGCB, Mark Lipparelli, has called this “another step forward but it’s not the last.” Confirming that this is the first such license issued in the United States, Lipparelli also admitted to being a former employee of Bally, but that he has no connections with the company now.
The decision by the 3-member board to accept Bally’s application was unanimous, supposedly because of the company’s solid reputation as a provider of gaming equipment. A vice president (business development) at Bally, John Connelly, said that nearly 50 Nevada and other casinos have already approached the company to purchase or lease Bally’s equipment so their own clients can enjoy online and mobile gaming. He also added that until testing was complete and it was possible to ensure that the services will be restricted to Nevada for those over the age of 21, they could not be made available to anyone. Connelly also said that his prediction was that, since people spend an average of 2.7 hours a day on their mobiles and hand-held devices, mobile gaming will be extremely popular in the future.
Federal law in the United States today only allows bets to be received from Nevada; the system should also ensure access only to those over the age of 21. Bally has said that their clients will be able to customize the system to suit their own requirements and offer several online games such as online sports betting, video poker, table games, slots and bingo, among others. They also confirmed that their clients will be able to decide how they collect bets from internet customers.
According to Mark Lerner, legal representative for Bally, Nevada has already established gambling laws as far back as 10 years ago and other states are likely to follow suit soon. Though the NGCB has issued the official license for Bally to host online gaming for their clients, a final nod is required from the Nevada Gaming Commission, which is expected to go through at a Las Vegas meeting to be held on June 21.
The technology for the online gaming has been purchased by Bally from Chiligaming, a company based in France. Though Bally has recruited a few of Chiligaming’s employees, they have not purchased the company itself. Lerner also clarified that Chiligaming was investigated thoroughly by Bally to ensure that they had never accepted any illegal bets from U.S. residents in the past.
The new license for online gaming is sure to provide a sorely-needed boost for the gaming and gambling segment of the internet, especially for American users. However, it remains to be seen how other states fare on this front.