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October 22, 2014

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Italian company wins interactive gaming license in Nevada

Despite concerns about fraud and underage gambling, the Nevada Gaming Commission has granted an international company a license to manufacture and distribute Internet poker systems in Nevada.

Lottomatica Group SPA of Italy and its affiliated companies have licenses in 30 places for lotteries and government-sponsored gaming but does not yet operate in the United States.

It wants to develop the system for Internet poker but does not have any Nevada customers yet to buy it.

Company officials said it was among the top five in the world in interactive gambling.

Commissioner John Moran pressed the company officials how they would prohibit underage players from gambling online. Company officials said they check the name, date of birth and address of the customer who signs up to play.

Moran questioned how they would prevent a minor from gambling under the name of the parent. Company officials said they would not be able to identify the minor but they expected the parents to oversee the use of the Internet.

Moran asked how problem gamblers would be identified. Company executives said the casinos that buy the system would be responsible.

Chairman Peter Bernhard said he was concerned about security measures to protect against fraud. But he added he was glad about the integrity of the company that has offices in Cyprus, Luxembourg, Sweden and Gibraltar.

The Nevada office would be in Las Vegas.

The commission also approved a license for longtime gaming executive Ferenc Szony to buy three casinos in Northern Nevada from Las Vegas based Affinity, formerly known as Herbst Gaming.

The deal involves the Sands Regency in Reno, the Gold Ranch in Verdi and Terrible's Dayton.

Szony formerly owed the three before selling them to Herbst.

Bernhard asked why Szony was buying the casinos for $19.2 million in Northern Nevada where the gambling is spotty.

Szony said Northern Nevada was a "challenging market" but he believed he could keep these casinos solvent.

"It's homecoming for me," he told the commission.

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