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PokerTek: Good News, Bad News

There was good news and bad news last month for North Carolina-based PokerTek, Inc., producer of the popular PokerPro automated poker table.

The good news was final approval from the Nevada Gaming Commission, paving the way for the company to expand its presence in the state. Currently, there are over 1,000 PokerPro tables installed statewide.

PokerPro is a 10-player automated poker table, with embedded player interface stations surrounding a large video display of the deal and the flop.

“We are delighted to be approved by the Nevada Gaming Commission,” said PokerTek CEO Chris Halligan. “Nevada is one of the most important gaming markets in the world and its regulatory processes are stringent and challenging. To receive approval from Nevada is a huge milestone for our company and our product.”

PokerPro commenced its field trial last August at the Excalibur Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, where there are 12 tables installed in the casino’s poker room. “Since we started field trial in Nevada, we’ve had tremendous interest from prospects around the state,” said Robert Perry, PokerTek’s vice president of sales. “Thanks to this approval, we’re now able to grow the footprint of automated poker in the Silver State.”

The company also announced that the product continued its worldwide expansion with an installation of a completely automated poker room at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino near Indianapolis, Indiana.

The new poker room opened March 20 with four PokerPro tables. “We are delighted to be able to bring poker to our guests in the form of PokerPro,” said Jason Newkirk, director of electronic gaming at Hoosier Park. “Area poker players will find that these tables combine the best attributes of online and manual poker, including mistake-free play and more hands per hour than manual tables.”

The bad news came from the first PokerPro installation in Atlantic City, where players have the option of live poker rooms at several casinos. Trump Plaza announced it is closing the automated poker room in its East Tower casino. The casino had projected $1.8 million in annual revenue from the 14 PokerPro tables, which officials hoped would draw a younger crowd into the aging casino. The best month for the poker room generated only $14,000.

“For us, that was pretty discouraging, to say the least,” Trump Plaza GM Jim Rigot told the Atlantic City Press. “Poker players like to play with chips; they like to have real cards in their hands if given the chance.”

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