Add Binion's Horseshoe Hotel & Casino to the growing list of Las Vegas-based casinos adding virtual casino games to their Web sites.
The company has joined fellow Vegas-based operators Harrah's, MGM Mirage and Hard Rock Cafe in rolling out a play-for-fun online casino accessible at its Web site.
The new site also signifies Access Gaming Systems Ltd.'s (AGS) first relationship with a U.S.-based operator. In addition to developing the software for the virtual casino, the Irish gaming technology company is hosting the site--the first time it has done that since 1996.
Binion's is one of the better-established brands in Las Vegas, most notably as the long-time host of the World Series of Poker, one of the most prestigious poker tournaments in the world.
Paul Barnes, the vice president of sales and marketing for Access, said the new site has two goals.
"Initially it will be used for their existing customers," he said. "Down the road, as situations in the U.S. and Nevada change, it certainly could be used to acquire new customers."
The site doesn't yet feature table poker, but Binion's will have the option of integrating AGS's new multiplayer poker software upon its release in the first quarter of 2003.
AGS has licensees in Australia, Austria, Germany, France, Holland, Norway and the United Kingdom
Most of AGS's clients have real-money gaming sites, a distinction that's not a possibility for Binion's in Nevada's current regulatory environment. But should Nevada allow its operators to accept bets online, Barnes wouldn't be surprised if Binion's is part of the mix from day one.
"I certainly can't speak for the company," he said, "but I would expect them to try and leverage their brand strength and awareness, especially within the poker community."
The World Series of Poker has already established an online presence. During the most recent tournament, a live Web cam enabled fans all over the world to monitor the action from their computers. The popularity of the Web cam, Barnes said, illustrates Binion's ability to drive players to the Internet.
Visitors to www.binions.com can choose from slots, draw poker, blackjack, roulette and other popular games.