South Point Poker hiring for online poker site
15 October 2012
South Point Poker, which hopes to become the first real-money online poker site to launch legally in Nevada, is recruiting to fill several technology, marketing, customer service and regulatory compliance positions.
The hiring follows two other developments at the company:
• Plans to launch real-money online wagering this month have been pushed back, likely toward the end of the year, as South Point works with regulators to complete technical testing and to receive final approvals for operational plans.
• The company in recent weeks took down its free-play site, which was launched about a year ago to drive interest in online poker, so as not to confuse customers.
Chief Operating Officer Lawrence Vaughan said that plans to launch the site this month hinged on a luck factor that hasn't panned out. Those plans were announced in August as South Point won Nevada’s first interactive gaming operator's license. The start is being held up by continued testing and back-and-forth with regulators.
"We feel we could launch today," Vaughan said. "But you’ve got to go through the independent testing labs, you have to satisfy the State Gaming Control Board and because we are the first, we’re going to be under the microscope. They’re going to prod us every which way, and that’s good. We don’t want to come out and fall flat on our face and be an embarrassment for Nevada."
The regulatory review process involves ensuring the South Point system is capable of dealing with every situation that may come up once online real-money play begins, Vaughan said.
"It’s an ongoing dialogue with the Control Board," he said. "It’s so nitty-gritty, it’s mind-boggling."
In the meantime, the South Point free-play site launched in October 2011 in partnership with a third-party vendor has been taken down -- but not before South Point Poker collected a database of thousands of players nationwide it can tap for its real-money site. Players outside Nevada will have to travel to the state to play online.
The free play site was hosted by Zen Entertainment.
"We thought there was a lot of confusion happening," Vaughan said. "People see something in the press saying we’re the first to be licensed, and then they go to the site and see this free play thing. Now that we’re licensed, we put so much effort in to building our own stuff that we wanted the focus to be on that."
South Point Poker is based in Summerlin, not at Michael Gaughan's South Point hotel-casino. Vaughan said the business isn't located in the physical casino because he and his staff want to stay focused on what they're doing.
"We view ourselves as a creative software company. I don’t think of us as a casino," he said.
The company is recruiting software developers, a graphic artist, customer service representatives and poker investigators. Seventeen jobs were listed Monday on the South Point Poker recruiting site.
Vaughan said the goal is to launch with about 40 employees. The company could grow "exponentially" if online poker is legalized nationwide or expand on a state-by-state basis, he added.
Salaries will range from $25,000 to six figures, Vaughan said.
South Point Poker is among a dozen companies that have either won Nevada online intrastate poker licenses or are expected to receive licenses this week from the Nevada Gaming Commission.
The companies include Boyd Gaming, the Golden Nugget, Ultimate Poker (backed by the Fertitta family, of Station Casinos), Global Cash Access Holdings, Bally Technologies, SHFL entertainment (formerly Shuffle Master), American Casino and Entertainment Properties, PokerTrip Enterprises and NetEffect Networks, International Game Technology, Monarch Interactive and WMS Industries.
Additionally, physical casino giants including Caesars Entertainment, MGM Resorts International and Wynn Resorts have submitted online poker applications.
As far as jobs, Boyd has said it expects to start with 20 to 30 employees, while Ultimate Poker expects to grow to about 100 jobs by next year.
The type of online poker approved in Nevada is not house-backed video poker. Rather, it involves players competing against each other with the casino earning revenue by taking a percentage of dollars wagered.
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