Betfair to Team with Caesars in New Jersey for Short-Term

Posted on October 6th, 2014 by Daniel Ryder
Caesars Entertainment Atlantic City Betfair

Caesars Entertainment in Atlantic City will be the new brick-and-mortar partner of Betfair’s online casino in New Jersey. (Image: NJonlinecasino.com)

Betfair will partner with Caesars Entertainment in Atlantic City, allowing the online gambling company to remain a part of the New Jersey Internet market. An agreement between the two companies has been approved by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE), allowing the continuation of the Betfair site that had been in jeopardy since the Trump Plaza closed last month.

Betfair had been operating under an interim agreement with the DGE that was allowing the company to remain in the market even without a brick-and-mortar partner, a requirement to operate in the New Jersey market. However, that authorization was only good until the end of Betfair’s current licensing agreement, and was unlikely to be renewed unless the company could find a new partner.

New Home After Short Scramble

The new transactional waiver with Caesars gives Betfair such a partner. Under the agreement, Betfair will be able to operate its servers from a Caesars location in Atlantic City for the next six months, after which the agreement will have to be renewed. The deal was signed on September 22, subject to DGE approval.

This marks the second time in a matter of weeks that Betfair has had to work quickly to find a new host in Atlantic City. When the Trump Plaza casino closed, the company initially found a new home with Trump Entertainment Resorts’ other casino in the city, the Trump Taj Mahal. But with Trump Entertainment Resorts filing for bankruptcy later in September and the Taj Mahal likely to close later in the year, that quickly necessitated finding a new home for the UK-based online gambling firm.

Poker Slow, Casino Provides Revenue

The Betfair online poker site in New Jersey, which utilizes the Ongame software package, has never been much of a factor in the state’s market. It rarely attracted any significant traffic, and is a distant fourth behind Party/Borgata, WSOP.com (which is run by Caesars), and the All American Poker Network. According to PokerScout.com, the site currently has essentially no cash game traffic to speak of.

However, the Betfair brand could still have value in the New Jersey market, albeit on the casino side of the business. In August, BetfairCasino.com generated a little over $700,000 in revenue, or just under seven percent of the total for the state’s online gambling market. That put Betfair ahead of only Ultimate Gaming, which exited the market after the Trump Entertainment bankruptcy.

The rules of the New Jersey market do not restrict casino operators to partner exclusively with a single software provider. As such, Caesars will not have to make any adjustments to their existing contracts in order to take on Betfair as a new partner. It’s currently unclear exactly how Betfair will be utilized under the Caesars banner. One potential solution would be to have Betfair sites partner specifically with Caesars Atlantic City, which isn’t an active partner with the 888-powered sites used by other Caesars properties.

Betfair’s operations may improve if they can receive more support from Caesars than they did from Trump Entertainment Resorts. The lack of promotion from the Trump properties was widely seen as a reason for the failure of Ultimate Gaming to secure much market share in New Jersey despite Ultimate Poker’s relative success in Nevada.

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