Venetian Joins Expanding Club

28 November 2001

Visitors to The Venetian Hotel Resort and Casino in Las Vegas will soon be able to take a piece of the gambling action back home with them and play whenever they choose.

Thanks to an agreement announced this week between The Venetian and Interactive Solutions Corporation (ISC), visitors to the property will be able to buy a free-play, PC-based version of the company's casino. ISC, which specializes in designing retail gaming products, will develop a product that will include over 35 casino games from table games such as blackjack, craps, and roulette to video poker machines and slot machines.

The development of a free-play virtual casino could lay the foundation for the Venetian to operate a real-money online casino down the road. The ISC software could be quickly adapted for such use, but Chris Stacey, The Venetian's Internet marketing manager, said the agreement was more about marketing and promotions than it was about taking a step toward offering Internet gambling.

"There is a possibility down the road to go to the Internet with this now that it is in place," Stacey explained. "But this was more a way for us to cross-promote and market the brand than it was anything else."

With the software players will have the chance to play against the computer, or online in multiplayer games.

The game will be sold through The Venetian's Grand Canal Shoppes, Venetian.com, and in The Venetian's guestrooms.

Stacey said company officials felt it was important for company officials to carry the Venetian brand awareness away from its property.

"This will be a great way for our known customers, and even some new ones, to experience a little bit of the gaming available to them if they visit," he said. "But more than anything it will get people thinking about the Venetian more when they aren't visiting."

ISC's Spiralcase Division licensed its "TheBet" suite of gaming software as the backbone for the Venetian product.

Stacey said the partnership of ISC and the Venetian creates a formidable team that will set a high standard for other companies to compete with.

"ISC's complete collection of gaming software, along with The Venetian's strong brand and its inherent ability to create a compelling gaming atmosphere, will make this software product one of the best available on the market," he said.

The signature feature of the TheBet suite--the ability for players to change and customize the "skins," or looks, of the table while they play--will be included in the Venetian software. Players will be able to choose from five skins The Venetian and ISC have created.

For ISC, the deal validates their business plan and the direction it has taken with its retail product.

"We are very pleased The Venetian chose ISC to develop their retail gaming software product," said David Bailey, president of the company. "It reiterated to us that customers really want all the attributes and features our software provides."

Stacey said The Venetian is eager to see Nevada move forward with the initiative to regulate online casinos, but he also pointed out that the process is still a couple of years away from being completed.

"There is hope, but it is long term," he said. "It is like anything; it is up to what the regulators say and how quickly the progress with everything. We have hopes that some day it will be good and ready to go someday."

The retail product, according to Stacey, is a win-win proposition for the Venetian.

"Do I think in the long run, with regard to Internet gaming, that it will help us with our marketing and our branding?" he asked. "I will just say it can't hurt. If people can start to associate us with online then great."

Through the ISC deal, The Venetian will become the fourth major Las Vegas casino operator to offer its games over the Internet. Harrah's, MGM Mirage and Hard Rock have established similar partnerships with other gaming software developers.