Full Tilt Poker Signs With Station Casinos

If the recent online poker room and live casino company alliances are any indication, then the gambling industry clearly thinks that the day when online poker will be legal in the United States is not far away. Last week, two of Full Tilt’s biggest online competitors, 888 Holdings and PokerStars, signed with two of Las Vegas’ biggest casino brands – Caesars and Wynn, respectively. Many industry analysts were already speculating who that left for Full Tilt, and now we have our answer.

While many people speculated that Full Tilt would ink their deal with a more international brand like MGM or Sands, ultimately they went with the company that will offer them the strongest foothold in Las Vegas. Today Full Tilt Poker in conjunction with Fertitta Interactive (the folks that own the popular local Las Vegas Station Casinos) announced that the two brands have forged a partnership.

What do all of these partnerships mean? Some of the live casinos have already expressed an interest in using their partnership to build an online presence via sites accessible to players outside the U.S. Caesars, for example, already has a gambling website in the works. In the case of PokerStars and Wynn, it is also highly likely that the partnership will result in the cross-promotion of live events sponsored by both partners.

For the most part, though, these partnerships are largely preemptive. While most poker fans are hoping that poker legislation will pass on the federal level, it’s pretty clear that online poker companies are betting on state legislation, and that they think Nevada has the highest potential for pushing such legislation through this year. When and if that happens, PokerStars, Full Tilt and 888 – plus their live partners – will be instantly ready to capitalize on the new market (though of course the first two sites already currently accept U.S. players).

If you’ve already read the Nevada Internet poker bill, then you know that it opens the door to licensing all preexisting online poker sites. What, then, is the special advantage of these partnerships? Since both the existing online poker rooms and the live gambling brands want a piece of the new American market as soon as it’s available, it seems obvious that they’re hoping these partnerships will not only give them a bigger market share but will help them to get active online faster than independent parties without a Nevada connection.

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