South Point’s Real Gaming Debuts as Third Nevada Online Poker Site
South Point Poker’s re-branded Real Gaming.com has debuted this week as the third Nevada-regulated online poker site to offer real-money online poker services in that state. The new site, with an online home at realgaming.com, joins Ultimate Poker and WSOP.com as sites that have been authorized to conduct real-money online poker play.
As with the other two regulated sites, Real Gaming is open only to Nevada-based players at the present time. Residents of other states who are physically present in Nevada are welcome to play on the site, but as with Nevada residents, must complete a registration process to begin play. International players, for the time being, are not allowed whether physically present in Nevada or not.
The South Point-owned offering is officially in a “soft launch” phase, without either excessive promotion or a formal announcement via the Real Gaming site. Real Gaming differs from its two live competitors in other ways as well, becoming the first of the three live Nevada offerings to be available directly via in-browser instant play (Chrome, Firefox, IE, etc.), rather than requiring a separate downloadable client for internet users.
Real Gaming appears committed to smart-phone play as a major element of its online strategy. As a result, Real Gaming also uses a somewhat different age- and location-verification process for its players. For mobile-device play, the Real Gaming process includes a downloadable app for various smart devices, which themselves are geolocation-tracked by their service providers.
Additional identity-verification steps include the use of SMS tokens and partial social-security number input being required once per session by players.
Traffic on the new site is slow in its first days, as one would expect. Only small and microstakes games are present, maxing out at $5/10 limit. At the present time, only Texas Hold’em is offered, though other poker variants are expected to be added in the future. Cash games, sit-and-gos, and multi-table tournaments are all planned for, according to menu options currently programmed for in the Real Gaming software, which is readily accessible online.
Real Gaming is owned and operated by South Point Poker LLC. The site’s belated arrival on the Nevada scene comes some nine months after Ultimate Poker’s landscape-changing debut last May. The delays in getting the site live and approved by Nevada regulators could not have been pleasing for South Point’s CEO Michael Gaughan, who once proclaimed his expectation that South Point’s online site would be the first to be given the go-ahead to offer real-money online play in Nevada.
No formal explanation for the ongoing delays was ever offered, though the consensus was that the alternative gaming approach (as described above) included protocols previously untested in Nevada, thereby causing additional time delays while Nevada gaming regulators vetted all components of the process. It was in the midst of that, in July of 2013, that South Point dropped its original “South Point Poker” online plans and rebranded itself under the Real Gaming name.
That in turn may have been due to the South Point’s general brand recognition as a “locals” casino, and the success of another Nevada locals casino chain, the Fertitta-owned Station Casinos, in launching Ultimate Poker as an independent brand.
Regardless of the full story of the delays and name switch Gaughan and South Point remained committed to the online poker impetus. The next few months will determine how successful the new offering is in establishing itself as a major player in Nevada’s new online-poker era.