Popular online poker hotspot Full Tilt Poker have entered into a new partnership with Fertitta Interactive, it has recently been revealed. The fruits of the deal would be a jointly owned online poker website, but spokespersons have made it clear that this will only go ahead if poker becomes legalised on a US federal level. Assembly Bill 258 is currently being debated, and if passed would allow legal online gambling only in the State of Nevada. It seems the aspirations of Full Tilt and their new business partners run much higher.
Fertitta Interactive is owned by brothers Frank Fertitta III and Lorenzo Fertitta, along with business partners Tom Breitling and Tim Poster. They are a subsidiary of Station Casinos, which currently boasts a business empire of around $950 million. Contrary to some reports, Full Tilt’s deal is not with Station Casinos itself.
One of the most high-profile internet card rooms in the world, Full Tilt was founded in 2004. It is currently governed by a team of celebrated professional poker players, which include Phil Ivey, Jennifer Harman, Howard Lederer and Chris Ferguson. The website sponsors a team of over 130 professional players, as well as having a strong television presence. It is speculated that the new deal with Fertitta Interactive will create many lucrative cross-advertising opportunities for both parties.
Should internet poker prove successful in being made legal federally, it seems Full Tilt are not the only ones to consider covering their backs. PokerStars, Full Tilt’s main rival for internet dominance, have already formed a partnership with Wynn Resorts to create PokerStarsWynn.com. The Nevada Gaming Commission also announced last week the unanimous approval for the suitability of another new venture. Caesar’s Entertainment, owners of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) brand, are to begin a working relationship with subsidiaries of the 888 Holdings LLC.
While Assembly Bill 258 only allows internet poker on a State level, it could go some way to reducing the losses suffered by Nevada brick and mortar casinos in 2010. Losses which are estimated to be around $3.4 Billion. Awareness has also been raised on the amount of internet poker currently being played illegally across the United States by people ignoring the ban. This is causing widespread loss of taxation, also running to millions of dollars worth.
It seems poker may be about to take up her seat as America’s national card game once again.