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Online betting firm 888 gets first U.S. licence


LONDON (Reuters) - London-listed 888 said it had been granted a licence to operate its online betting products in Nevada, the first time an internet gambling company has been licensed in the United States.

The Nevada Gaming Commission approved Gibraltar-based 888's licence at a meeting in Las Vegas on Thursday, 888 said in a statement on Friday.

"This is an historic moment for 888. This is the first time a company uniquely providing online gaming has been licensed by any U.S. jurisdiction," 888 Chief Executive Brian Mattingley said.

The decision had been widely expected after the state gaming control board voted to recommend approval earlier this month.

888, which operates casino, poker and bingo games, has already signed a deal with Las Vegas operator Treasure Island to launch online poker in Nevada.

U.S. legislators had clamped down on internet betting in 2006 when it was explicitly barred by Congress, dealing a blow to online gaming companies who had set up there and driving them elsewhere in their quest for growth.

But the legal position in the United States is changing, and federal legislation is set to be introduced in the spring.

(Reporting by Rosalba O'Brien; editing by Kate Holton)