First Licensed Nevada Affiliate Jon Friedberg Talks to CAP
We recently spoke with Jon Friedberg, President and CEO of PokerTrip Enterprises, whose sites include All Vegas Poker and The Poker Atlas. Last week, Jon became the first affiliate to receive preliminary approval for an interactive service provider license to operate as an affiliate in Nevada’s regulated online poker market. Friedberg is meeting with the Nevada Gaming Commission on September 20 for final approval.
Friedberg was gracious enough to take some time to answer questions about the process of becoming a licensed affiliate in Nevada for CasinoAffiliatePrograms.com.
Did you have any experience advertising in the US market prior to acquiring All Vegas Poker?
Yes. At the last company I ran, Reactrix, we launched a national advertising network in shopping malls and movie theatres across the US.
I also worked as an Advertising Analyst for Petco, the nation’s top US pet supply retailer in my first job out of college. So that was more in the analytical/research side of the business, where as Reactrix was more in the sales side.
But All Vegas Poker and The Poker Atlas are your first ventures as a gaming advertiser?
Tell us about when you acquired the sites and what your plan was at the time. Did you foresee online poker regulation coming to Nevada?
As a longtime poker player who has spent several years traveling around the country (and world) playing tournaments and cash games, I always felt the need for a centralized resource that provided information on what games and events were happening everywhere.
I was friends with the original creator of AVP, and while he just viewed the site as a hobby surrounding the Vegas poker industry, I envisioned the potential for something similar, but on a much broader scale.
At the time, I never had online poker in mind… I was focused on the brick-and-mortar industry.
My vision and goal was to become the Trip Advisor of the entire poker industry. It was actually an idea that I had been formulating since 2000 when I originally registered the domain “PokerTrip”… the name behind “PokerTrip Enterprises, Inc.”
How and when did you realize you needed to receive an interactive service provider license from Nevada?
I read through the NV Interactive Gaming Regulations back in January, and saw that it was going to be necessary for affiliates to be licensed.
What did you do to prepare for meeting with Nevada regulators in order to receive a license?
I immediately contacted the Gaming Control Board, filed all of the paperwork as quickly as possible (it took several weeks just to complete the paperwork!), and after seven months of company and personal background investigation, I’m pleased to have been given a recommendation for approval by the Gaming Control Board.
Describing the process as thorough would be quite the understatement.
I was asked to provide detailed information about my personal, family, residential, professional, educational, financial, and any criminal background as well as bank statements, tax returns, birth certificate, real estate transactions, business documents, release forms, power of attorney forms, waiver of rights forms, you name it. It was an intensive process (although still not nearly as intensive as that of an online gaming operator applicant!), and for good reason.
Did you hire an attorney to help you with the process?
Yes, a legal counsel was quite necessary.
What can you tell us about the day of the actual licensing hearing with Nevada gaming regulators?
As being the case with any gaming applicant, I was called up to present to the Chairman and Board Members, and Secretary of the NV Gaming Control Board, to introduce myself, my company, and address any questions that they had.
Was there anything about the process that was unexpected at that time?
I was fully aware of the hearing process, and had attended several GCB hearings prior to my own.
What marketing angle are you hoping to take when jumping into the regulated Nevada market?
We will certainly be utilizing our own web and mobile app presence on AllVegasPoker.com and PokerAtlas.com, as well as working with other partners and media outlets.
Have you initiated any relationships yet with operators who anticipate running an online poker room in Nevada?
Yes, we are in dialogue with several companies.
Any final pieces of advice for affiliates hoping to join the fray as a licensed interactive service provider in Nevada?
The advice I would give is to respect the Nevada gaming licensing process and understand why it is necessary to preserve the integrity of the Nevada gaming industry. I am also happy to answer any questions for those who would like to contact me directly at Jon@AllVegasPoker.com, and I welcome any inquiries regarding potential parternship opportunities.