Welcome to New Jersey

New Jersey Online Poker: Partnerships Abound as 37 Firms Seek Approval

Welcome to New JerseyThere’s plenty of wheeling and dealing these days in New Jersey, where the state’s soon-to-open online poker market has companies lining up early, trying to win approval from state regulators.

New Jersey represents the juiciest American online-poker pie to date, with the state’s population of 8.9 million significantly outstripping the population of the other two US states who have also regulated online poker, Nevada (2.8 million) and tiny Delaware (917,000).

Given the way that the US poker population dominated the online poker world pre-Black Friday, that’s a good reason for the excitement: If US players jump onboard in droves, the whole industry will be energized.  The state’s population serves as a great litmus test, whereas Delaware and Nevada — even with that state’s poker history — are just too small.  So New Jersey gets the buzz.

Companies continue partnering up in casino / software-platform deals, a process that’s not likely to stop until all of the state’s casinos (and brand names) have a deal in place.  Last week’s deal between Caesars-owned Tropicana and UK’s Gamesys is the sixth such planned partnership already announced for the New Jersey market, assuming everyone involved in the deals eventually gets approved by the regulators.

Gamesys and Caesars already have a software deal in place for Caesars’ real-money, online video-slots and bingo offerings in the UK, though this is an outlier for Caesars; for the other four properties of theirs in Jersey, they’ll go with their existing partnership with 888 Holdings.

Here are the New Jersey deals in place to date:

Atlantic Club Casino Hotel — none yet
Bally’s Atlantic City (Caesars property) — 888 Holdings
Borgata — bwin.party
Caesars Atlantic City — 888 Holdings
Golden Nugget Atlantic City — Bally Technologies
Harrah’s Atlantic City (Caesars property) — 888 Holdings
Resorts Casino Hotel Atlantic City — PokerStars (Rational Group)
Revel Atlantic City — none yet
Showboat Atlantic City (Caesars property) — 888 Holdings
Tropicana Casino & Resort Atlantic City(Caesars property) — Gamesys
Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino — probably Betfair, according  to this recent summary from a NJ outlet
Trump Taj Mahal — Ultimate Gaming (Fertitta Interactive)

Between the 12 land-based AC casinos and the seven software firms associated with them already through various partnerships, that’s 19 licenses applied for.  A separate Jersey outlet has reported that the state received 37 total applications by the July 31st cutoff, giving enough time for the state to put everyone through an approval process before the state’s planned November 26th rollout.

The 37 applicants also include UK entities 2UP Gaming and MidOil USA, which have partnered up and plan to either buy an existing casino (possibly the Atlantic Club) or build a new one, just to enter the new online market.  While the state won’t release a complete list of the 37 applicants for now, this means that at least 21 of the 37 are already known.

We can’t say for certain who the rest are, but it’s a safe bet that the vast majority are online payment-processing firms, ID-verification and geolocation companies and the like.  A sampling of some of the other likely applicants would include Optimal Payments, the latter-day version of NETeller which already has a deal with Caesars; Loc-Aid; CAMS; IGT; Amaya; SHFL (ShuffleMaster); International Game Technology; and others.  Back in April I published the complete list of the 14 Delaware applicants over at 4Flush, and it’s likely most of them will try to join the New Jersey circus as well.

Maybe even a slimy outfit such as iovation (UltimateBet’s long-time Oregon home) tries to sneak in again in New Jersey, as they tried in Nevada.  If so, it’ll raise massive protests if news of such ever goes public.

Given the bumps we’ve seen with the Nevada licensing and approval process, which included the aforementioned iovation trying to sneak in through the side door, the November launch for New Jersey almost seems rushed.  The state’s gambling officials remain confident, however, that everything is on track.

Whenever it happens, the poker world will be watching.


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