Wednesday April 17, 2013 :  CAESARS APPLIES FOR NEW JERSEY INTERNET GAMBLING LICENCE (Update)
 
This is as big as the introduction of land gambling to Atlantic City, says spokesman
 
The interactive division of Las Vegas land gambling giant Caesars Entertainment has started the application process for a New Jersey internet gaming licence, reports the publication Press of Atlantic City.
 
Seth Palansky, a spokesman for Caesars, said of the application this week: “It’s the first of I’m sure many hurdles to cross.”
 
Palansky said the company intends to offer online casino games other than its World Series of Poker product in New Jersey, noting that Caesars already does so overseas.
 
“We’re offering a whole suite of games in the U.K.,” he said. “We anticipate having everything available [for New Jersey].”
 
He said that online poker, in particular, requires companies to sign up as many players onto their sites as possible in order to make the game more interesting.
 
“Poker requires liquidity,” Palansky said. “You need to get a lot of players playing.”
 
The introduction of online gambling to New Jersey was as significant a milestone as the legalization of land casino gambling in Atlantic City, Palansky said, observing:
 
“This is what land-based gambling was 25 years ago.”
 
Caesars Entertainment already operates four Atlantic City properties — Harrah’s Resort, Showboat Casino Hotel, Bally’s Atlantic City and Caesars Atlantic City. The casino license petition, which was submitted earlier this month, would allow Caesars Interactive to operate Internet gambling on behalf of the four casinos.
 
Earlier this year the American Gaming Association, a trade body in which Caesars is a leading member, objected to the proposed takeover of an Atlantic City land casino by online poker major The Rational Group, parent of operator Pokerstars.
 
The unprecedented move to interfere in a New Jersey licensing process triggered speculation that the Association and its members was trying to hamper potential internet competition implicit in the Rational Group acquiring an Atlantic City land casino as a precursor to obtaining a New Jersey licence for internet gambling .
 
Meanwhile, the Rational Group has officially completed its application for interim casino authorisation, The Press of Atlantic City advises, saying that the Isle of Man-based company has moved one step closer to purchasing the Atlantic Club.
 
Regulators deemed the application complete on April 10, starting a 90-day period during which the DGE will investigate Rational.
 
In evaluating Rational’s application, the New Jersey Division for Gambling Enforcement is required to file a report with the Casino Control Commission by July 9. The commission then has 30 days to hold a hearing and rule on whether Rational should receive interim casino authorisation.
 
The commission is empowered to determine whether the American Gaming Association's petition to participate in the consideration of a Rational Group licence will be entertained; so far the Commission has elected to postpone giving a view on the matter.
 
“The Commission believes it would be appropriate to schedule and address the AGA's petition to participate in Rational Group's ICA hearing once the Commission can determine when that hearing may be held,” chairman Matthew Levinson said in a statement last month.
 
Technically, Atlantic City land casino operators could be empowered to offer Internet gambling before the end of 2013. However, the regulations supporting the legalization have yet to be published, and the DGE said Tuesday it did not have an update on when these would be ready.