The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) has approved GVC Holdings’ online gambling license application some four and a half months after the Isle of Man company acquired bwin.party on February 1 in a deal worth $1.72 billion.
The DGE acted much quicker than it did in approving Amaya’s PokerStars license, an investigation that took the division around the globe, but remained thorough in determining if GVC met the state’s requirements for Internet gambling authorization.
“I am delighted the DGE has confirmed that GVC meets its stringent regulatory requirements,” GVC CEO Kenneth Alexander said in a statement. “This is an important development for GVC . . . should further regulated opportunities in the US arise.”
The DGE also ruled that GVC doesn’t need to undergo the transactional waiver period as was the case with PokerStars. Instead, the licenses held by bwin.party in New Jersey will be transferred to GVC and remain valid.
All Systems Go
Though most expected the DGE to approve GVC for iGambling in the Garden State, the new owner of partypoker certainly comes with a few items of concerns for regulators. As PokerSites.us reported earlier this year, GVC has a history of operating in gray markets and unregulated jurisdictions.
That’s the very definition of a “bad actor,” the term labeled to online poker networks that continued operating in the United States following the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act in 2006.
Bwin.party had removed partypoker from nearly two dozen illegal markets in April of 2013, but GVC wasted no time in returning the network to the zones following its acquisition of the brand this year. Greece, Poland, Brazil, Ukraine, and Argentina are among the countries partypoker is operating in regardless of any regulated online gambling laws.
However, it appears DGE boss David Rebuck and his staff didn’t find any good reason to prevent GVC from operating in the most populated American state with legal online gambling.
The DGE had permitted GVC and Borgata to continue offering online games while its review of the new partypoker owner was ongoing.
Partypoker’s land-based partner, the Borgata Hotel Casino, reportedly searched for new online gaming providers in case the DGE denied GVC’s bid. Transitioning to a new platform will be avoided thanks to the DGE’s blessing.
“GVC and its individual qualifiers possess the requisite good character, honesty, and integrity,” the DGE concluded.
Verdict Vital to Online Gambling
The last thing Rebuck wanted to do was remove the largest online gambling moneymaker from the state. Though Party Borgata is the smallest of the three Internet poker networks in New Jersey, it’s the largest in terms of general online gambling thanks to its robust slots offerings.
Of the five casino operators in New Jersey, the Borgata online site generated 31 percent of the state’s $148.8 million in gross Internet gaming revenue in 2015. Through the first four months of 2016, Borgata has a lost a bit of its share but still controls the market with 28 percent of the total gaming win.