The big industry news breaking late Friday in the United States was the release of a list of internet companies that the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement has deemed suitable for intrastate online gambling operations in partnership with Atlantic City casinos.
The list names Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment, Caesars Interactive Entertainment, 888, Bally Technologies, Ultimate Poker, Betfair, Pala Interactive and Amaya Gaming, giving these companies the green light to participate in the “soft launch” trial period beginning on November 21.
In a series of company announcements, the approved companies noted the award of ‘transactional waivers’ by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement pending the granting of a full licence.
Bwin.Party said in a statement:
“We are delighted to announce that the Company has been awarded a transactional waiver by the DGE pending full licensure. This transactional waiver means that bwin.party is now eligible to participate in the online gaming market in New Jersey which is expected to open on 26 November 2013.
“Operating under the land-based casino licence of our partner in New Jersey, Borgata Casino, we intend to launch poker and casino games under both Borgata’s and our own brands, including www.partypoker.com.”
The Borgata is owned by MGM Resorts and Boyd Gaming.
Caesars Interactive Entertainment is partnering with 888 and Amaya Gaming and has four Atlantic City properties to use in deploying its online gambling effort in New Jersey.
Other waivers were granted to Paddy Power North America, Scientific Games International, Williams Interactive, Betable New Jersey, Genesis Gaming, Rush Street Interactive and Evolution New Jersey.
Each of those service providers are now authorised to engage in Internet gaming related business transactions once they have finalised partnerships with Atlantic Casino licensed land casinos.
Observers were quick to note that Pokerstars did not appear on the current list of approvals; unconfirmed rumours earlier in the week suggested that the online poker giant had been excluded, but a spokeswoman for the New Jersey regulator pointed out that a further list is scheduled for release on November 15, and Pokerstars communication chief Eric Holreiser assuaged fears by tweeting:
“Our application remains under review by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement and we remain committed to working with the Division to complete the review process.”
Pokerstars has signed a partnership deal with Resorts Casino Hotel.
To date, five casinos – Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, Golden Nugget Atlantic City, Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort, Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, and Tropicana Casino and Resort – have been awarded online gambling permits. Under New Jersey’s system, both the brick-and-mortar casino and the online gambling company must receive approvals.
Another potentially key player not on the current list is Wynn Interactive, which has partnered with 888 Holdings’ All American Poker Network. It has reportedly come to an agreement with Caesars to use one of that company’s four Atlantic City casino licenses.
The absence of the much-hyped UK company 2UP Gaming plc has also drawn comment; earlier this year the company claimed it had serious Asian financial backing to buy an Atlantic City casino for online gambling purposes, but despite several booster releases since then nothing appears to have materialised.