Here they come to New Jersey ready to set up their online gaming operations. It didn’t take long before the ink dried once Chris Christie signed the online gaming legislation in New Jersey and now the big boys are ramping up and starting to submit applications for online gaming licenses. Caesars has a lot on the table with getting the approval, being that they operate four Atlantic City land based casinos including: Showboat, Bally’s, Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City and Caesars. Caesars interactive also owns the popular World Series of Poker brand and has online gaming brands that operate internationally already.
So they are just waiting for the US to open up with Nevada and New Jersey being their first stops. “It’s the first of I’m sure many hurdles to cross,” said Seth Palansky, spokesman for Caesars Interactive, which is based in Las Vegas. The license for which they have applied would allow Caesars to offer online gaming in the state on behalf of all four of the casino they operate in Atlantic City. Even though the legislation has been passed and signed the politicians and lawyers still have to finalize the details and requirements, which could take until the end of the year.
The good news for Caesars is that they can offer the full suite of casino products in the New Jersey market, unlike their Nevada license, which just allows for online poker. They are already offering online casino and poker products overseas in areas like the UK, so they are prepared to launch in the US with proven products. They anticipate having everything ready for the US market and marketing as well.
Caesars Interactive is actually based in Montreal, Canada and was started in 2009. They have some online gaming industry veterans running the company like former PartyGaming CEO Mitch Garber. He was also head of Optimum payments, which eventually purchased the online processing company Neteller. Now Caesars is working with Optimum on processing and that deal was solidified last year in anticipation of the US marketing opening up and Caesars getting the licenses.
Once Caesars Interactive launches in both Nevada and New Jersey the trick will be to get these two states working together on a compact. Online poker requires critical mass in order to gain liquidity for operations and have lots of player on the network. Online poker requires this and it would be even better if more states join in the legalization process and all develop compacts. Right now there are 3 million people in Nevada and 9 million in New Jersey. Combine those two and you’re starting to get some more serious numbers. At this point in time, both jurisdictions require you to be in the states they operate in for people to gamble, but Nevada has recently passed legislation that would allow the state to develop compacts with other states or better known as "intrastate" gaming agreements.
Pokerstars is another online gaming company that is looking to getting into New Jersey early as well. The parent company, named the Rational Group has been for quite some time trying to purchase the Atlantic Club Casino and Hotel. Even though the AGA (American Gaming Association) has criticized the deal, it is still moving ahead in its attempts to purchase the casino for $50 million. The DGE (Division of Gaming Enforcement) is still debating whether or not the AGA should be considered to participate in the hearing. “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.
By the looks of it online gaming companies would have a better foot in the ground to get a New Jersey online gaming license if they have a financial stake or partnership with a land based casino operation in the state. In Nevada this isn’t a factor but some states that already have casinos will surely consider this when developing online gaming regulations. Either way, online gaming is now starting to make it’s way into the US and if more and more states become regulated it won’t be long before the federal government has to act and come up with a federal online gaming bill that everyone can join in and profit from, including them.