Horseshoe Gaming is the latest American land-based casino operator to dip its toe in the Internet gambling market by way of a play-for-fun gaming Web site.
Chartwell Technology announced Tuesday that it will be designing the software for the site, which should launch in the next 60 days, said Darold Parken, Chartwell's president and CEO.
Horseshoe is the largest privately held gaming company in the United States and operates casinos in Bossier City, La.; Tunica, Miss. and Hammond, Ind. It's well-known, respected brand reinforces the promotional value of Chartwell's software, Parken said.
"The Horseshoe brand and the name Jack Binion are inextricably linked with responsible gaming and quality entertainment in America and we are very proud to have been selected to help bring these qualities to the Horseshoe Gaming Internet presence," he said.
Chartwell is building a custom site for Horseshoe to capture the casinos' look and feel. Parken said his company will blend themes from all of the Horseshoe casinos to make the games identifiable with the brand, including custom work on the slot machines. Parken said Chartwell is waiting to hear from Horseshoe whether the slot machines will resemble those that the operator uses on its casino floors.
The site will be play-for-fun only. Should the legal status of online gambling change, Parken said it would be difficult, if not impossible, to simply flip a switch to make the games play-for-real. Adding a real-money component would require significant software changes.
"I don't think it's ever going to be a simple switchover," he said, "because the play for real environment will require different software in the sense that there'll be all kinds of requirements
for age verification, location verification and in particular rules that will be implemented by the Nevada Gaming Commission or the New Jersey Gaming Commission."
The site will incorporate Horseshoe's Winners Circle loyalty program, and the software will have the capability for prizes to be awarded in lieu of cash.
"There are certain things that the Nevada Gaming Commission permits in terms of awarding prizes in a play-for-fun casino," Parken said. "This is not a Nevada property, though, so it would be up to Horseshoe to look at the legal situation in each of the states where it operates and determine whether they're permitted to actually award prizes."