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Howard Stutz

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Full Tilt reaches agreement with Fertitta Interactive

1 Apr 2011

By Howard Stutz
LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- Online gaming giant Full Tilt Poker and Fertitta Interactive, which is co-owned by the family that founded Station Casinos, have struck a partnership to operate an Internet poker website if the activity gains federal approval.

The agreement covers only potential federal legislation for Internet poker, said Tom Breitling, who co-owns Fertitta Interactive with brothers Frank Fertitta III and Lorenzo Fertitta and his longtime business partner Tim Poster.

In an email, Breitling said the partnershipbacks federal legislation, not Assembly Bill 258, which is being debated in the Nevada Legislature and authorizes the state to legalize Internet poker. Rival online gaming company PokerStars is backing the legislation.

"We believe that a federal law for online poker is the way to go," Breitling said. "We do believe that a federal online poker bill would be good for Nevada. Nevada is a leader in gaming regulation, and we need the thousands of high-paying high tech jobs and the millions in tax revenues associated with online poker."

Under the agreement, which is expected to be formally announced Thursday, if federal legislation passes and appropriate gaming licenses are acquired, FullTilt Poker and Fertitta Interactive would jointly operate an online poker site.

"Our arrangement with FullTilt is confidential but it is contingent on the passage of federal legislation regulating Internet poker," Breitling said.

FullTilt and Fertitta Interactive will work toward the passage of federal Internet gaming legislation, he added. There would not be a tie-in with Station Casinos if the online poker site is created.

FullTilt operates online poker rooms. It is licensed as Alderney, a British Crown Dependency. The Aldernay Gaming Commission recently announced an information sharing arrangement with the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

Breitling and Poster were the original founders of The Fertitta brothers invested in the venture, which was sold to Expedia. Breitling and Poster purchased the Golden Nugget casinos from MGM Mirage in 2004, selling the properties in 2005 to Landry's Inc.

The Fertitta brothers are majority owners of Ultimate Fighting Championship, which could become part of the cross-marketing efforts with the proposed Internet poker site.

Last week, Wynn Resorts Ltd. announced a similar deal with PokerStars to create an online poker site if federal legislation were to pass.

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