N.J. REGULATOR APPROVES ANOTHER BATCH OF ONLINE GAMBLING LICENSEES
And although Pokerstars is not among them, hopes still remain.
The New Jersey Casino Control Commission issued another batch of online gambling approvals Wednesday, with two major companies standing out for different reasons – Caesars Interactive Entertainment was given the nod, but Pokerstars parent Rational Group was not.
Caesars Interactive Entertainment is a subsidiary of Caesars Entertainment, which owns four properties in Atlantic City, and two of those – Caesars and Bally's – were green-lighted after CEO Mitch Garber was given something of a grilling over his former involvement with European online gambling companies.
Backed by New Jersey deputy attorney Jack Adams, who said a probe by the state Division of Gaming Enforcement confirmed Garber's argument, the former Party Gaming chief executive said that he had followed legal advice on the firm's US activities to the letter, and immediately ceased US operations when the UIGEA was passed in 2006.
CIE is partnering with 888 for its technology on its WSOP.com poker offering, whilst its online casino endeavour will be powered by Amaya Gaming.
Hope has not been abandoned in regard to the omission of the Rational Group and its partner Resorts Casino from Wednesday's list; the company's director of communications, Eric Holreiser, issued a Twitter statement that said:
"Our conversations with NJ DGE are continuing, however it is now apparent that we will not have approval in place to launch on Nov. 26. We remain committed to working with the Division to complete the review process."
And New Jersey's director of gaming enforcement, David Rebuck, told the Press of Atlantic City that the Resorts-Rational application was still under review.
Although another three companies were added to the long list of supporting service companies that has already been approved, it was the principal gambling operational companies and technology firms providing software and expertise that attracted most attention.
Internet Gaming Permits were issued to Caesars and Bally's, leaving only Resorts, Revel and the bankrupt Atlantic Club as the only Atlantic City land casinos not granted the go-ahead for New Jersey online gambling.
Those authorised to commence operations in the soft launch period starting today are:
Bally's and 888
Tropicana and Gamesys
Caesars -888 – Amaya Gaming
Trump Taj Mahal and Ultimate Gaming.
Golden Nugget – Bally Technologies – Amaya.
Borgata – Bwin.party – Amaya Gaming.
Trump Plaza – Betfair – GameAccount – Amaya Gaming
Other internet companies with experience and technology that have successfully applied for New Jersey licensing but have yet to conclude partnership deals with Atlantic City land casinos (a mandatory requirement for a New Jersey online gambling license to go operational) include:
Evolution Gaming (a live dealer operation)
WMS-Scientific Games subsidiary William Interactive
Rush Street Interactive.
Pala Interactive – a California firm lead by former Bwin co-CEO Jim Ryan
Scientific Games International.
Patrick Kennedy, CEO of the latter company, headquartered in Ireland, had some interesting views on the New Jersey gambling market, confirming to investors Thursday that the company has been successful in its application, but that he had concerns regarding the market.
“We see a fragmented poker liquidity – at least five separate pools of liquidity,” Kennedy said. “We see a highly competitive B2C landscape, and a lot of strong US brands launching.”
Kennedy is also worried about the continued presence of gray market operators that he feels may hamper the regulated launch, citing “less restrictions … than we would have liked ideally.”
That said, Paddy Power will continue to explore possibilities in the US, Kennedy said, adding that the market has the potential to become a valuable source of revenues for the company.
Paddy Power has also been successful is achieving approval for intrastate online poker in Nevada, but it has not thus far translated this into operational activity in the state.