Anyone in Nevada can now play in real-money online casino-style tournaments in a major step forward for online gambling in the state.
The offering is from MGM Resorts International, which allows users to compete in slot tourneys via the easyPLAY platform. Previously, easyPLAY users had to be on an MGM property and using MGM wifi. Now, the tournaments can be accessed anywhere in the state, for users who are over 21 years of age.
Michael Jabara, President and CEO of oneLIVE inc. — the developer of easyPLAY — talked about the move with USPoker:
It’s the latest example of MGM’s increasing interest in online gambling.
More about the online tournaments
The easyPLAY product includes slot machine, video poker and bingo games.
It is not for pure player-against-the-house play. The platform allows users to play against one another in regularly scheduled slot tournaments for prizes. Users pay an entry fee for a chance to win a larger prize.
easyPLAY currently has four different variants on which it bases its tournaments. Prize pools range from as small as $50 to upwards of $1,000. For one promotion in September, a tournament awarded $10,000 in prizes.
Registration is straightforward and requires a funding method, such as a credit or debit card, or PayPal. Users’ ages are verified via a third party, and geolocation determines if a user is inside the state of Nevada for real-money play.
If not in Nevada, easyPLAY users can still enter free-play tournaments with no cash prizes.
What’s new for MGM and easyPLAY
While the easyPLAY platform is not new — it rolled out in July — the ease of access has now increased dramatically for players.
USPoker understands MGM sent out an invitation to all members of its loyalty program — MLife — that reside in Nevada to try the easyPLAY tournaments. It comes with a deposit match bonus of up to $500.
Previously, access was quite limited for the slot tourneys. Users had to be located at one of nine MGM resorts: Aria, Bellagio, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, The Mirage, Monte Carlo, Luxor, New York-New York or Excalibur.
Now, with players able to access easyPLAY from anywhere in the state — on their cell phones, computers or other mobile devices — the universe of potential players opens up immensely.
It should also lead to larger prize pools for the online slot tourneys, which have been quite small so far.
What’s next for iGaming and Nevada?
It’s unlikely this is the last step forward for online gambling in the state. Online poker has been legal and regulated in Nevada for some time, but the revenue generated has been minimal.
The Nevada Gaming Policy Committee met in the spring and expressed interest in the expansion of online gambling offerings.
While MGM is the first and only mover outside of the online poker space, one would not expect that to continue with today’s revelation that online slot tournaments can be played anywhere in the state.
And don’t look for MGM to rest on its laurels here, either. After the statewide rollout, expect more products — chance-based and/or skill-based — to be offered at easyPLAY in the future.
“Speaking only for ourselves, oneLIVE is extremely happy with our partnership with our first customer, MGM Resorts,” Jabara said. “It has been a terrific experience working with such forward-thinking professionals. They truly want to drive this very traditional industry forward toward mobile and other attractions for the next generation of players.”
What is clear is that more online gambling is coming to Nevada. It’s just a matter of how quickly it happens.