Betfair New Jersey Future Renewed Through Caesars Deal
The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) has released the text of an order allowing Betfair Interactive US, LLC, the US-based division of Betfair, to remain in New Jersey. The order’s hint at a revival for long-term Betfair New Jersey hopes come courtesy of a new deal reached between Betfair and Caesars Interactive Entertainment New Jersey LLC two days earlier.
According to the DGE order, dated September 24th and signed by DGE director David Rebuck, Betfair and Caesars Interactive have received conditional six-month approval for a “Data Center Sublicense Agreement,” which will allow Betfair to relocate its servers and other hardware infrastructure to one of the Caesars-owned properties in Atlantic City.
Betfair continues to operate the New Jersey-facing BetfairCasino.com online-gambling site, which was previously licensed as part of Betfair’s prior deal with the bankrupt Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino. The Trump Plaza closed its brick-and-mortar casino on the Atlantic City Boardwalk earlier this month, and the New Jersey DGE quickly granted Betfair’s request to continue operations of the Trump Plaza-associated betfaircasino.com site while also granting Betfair Interactive’s writen motion to intervene and participate in actions associated with the closing of the Trump Plaza and that casino’s surrender of its gambling license, which also includes the Betfair online site.
The latest DGE order does not state that Betfair and Caesars will be partnering to launch any new online sites in New Jersey, although the order does allow for that future development, stating, “Any additional contracts entered into outside this Agreement must be submitted to the Division [of Gaming Enforcement] for review and approval.” That allows Betfair to continue operating the betfaircasino.com site — which remains open for business and is still able to accept new customers from within the Garden State — while relocating the physical infrastructure for the site off the Trump Plaza premises.
As of today, the BetfairCasino.com site still carries nomenclature identifying it as partnership between Betfair and Trump Plaza.
Whether or not a legal method can be found to transfer the BetfairCasino.com site into a possible new Betfair/Caesars partnership isn’t an issue that’s addressed in any way by the DGE order. Even amid bankruptcy, Trump Plaza would retain financial interest in the customers who are currently playing on the betfaircasino.com site, and a purchase of or transfer of the site would likely involve the courts, in signing off on a deal which protects Trump Plaza’s secured creditors. The more immediate goal of the DGE order and the relocation of the Betfair servers to a Caesars property appears to be to allow an orderly continuation of the site — and a possible formal closing, if it comes to that — while all options are being considered.
While the betfaircasino.com site generated only a laughable $49 in poker-related rake through the first two thirds of 2014, the site’s casino offerings were significantly larger and accounted for about 8% of New Jersey’s overall online casino-games revenue. Betfaircasino.com reported a year-to-date internet gaming win of $5,053,550 through August, while the state’s casinos as a whole reported a combined casino-games win of about $62.5 million through August. Casino games other than poker account for about 75% of New Jersey’s online gambling traffic.
Some portion of the existing Trump Plaza / Betfair online traffic could be expected to migrate to other licensed sites if the existing site is folded, but it’s likely that both the state and the casinos would like to ensure that revenue from online punters continues as uninterrupted as possible.
In the meantime, BetfairCasino.com continues to be officially listed by the DGE as an authorized New Jersey online gambling site despite the physical closing of the Trump Plaza, while both sites operated in conjunction with Ultimate Poker by Trump Plaza’s also-bankrupt sister casino, Trump Taj Mahal, are no longer authorized or accessible for play.