Ultimate Poker was the first regulated online poker site in the United States when it launched last year in Nevada. Now, it’s set to become the first licensed site in New Jersey to leave that market behind.
Ultimate Gaming, the parent company of Ultimate Poker, has announced that it will be leaving the New Jersey online gambling market after a contentious relationship with its casino partner, the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort, and an inability to find success in the poker sector like it has had in Nevada.
“We are grateful to the State of New Jersey and the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement for allowing us to be one of the first companies to bring online gaming to the citizens of New Jersey and appreciate their leadership as one of the first states to allow online gambling,” Ultimate Gaming Chairman Tom Breitling said in a statement announcing the end of their operations.
Trump Taj Mahal Troubles Lead to Shutdown
According to Ultimate, the decision comes after “multiple breaches” in the agreement between the company and Trump Taj Mahal Associates. This led to a termination of the online gaming agreement between the two sides, which in turn forced Ultimate to withdraw from the market. The Trump Taj Mahal is currently in the midst of bankruptcy proceedings, and is likely to close later this year.
The move will not affect the operations of Ultimate Poker in Nevada. Ultimate says that it will continue to improve the player experience in that state while they end operations in New Jersey.
“We are working closely with the Division of Gaming Enforcement [DGE] to ensure a smooth transition for our online gaming customers as we wind down our New Jersey operations,” said Breitling. “We also look forward to enhancing our customer experience in Nevada by adding Mac and mobile offerings by the end of the year.”
Player Funds Not at Risk
The planned shutdown of the Ultimate Gaming sites, including Ultimate Poker, was expected to happen in quick order this past weekend. Operations were scheduled to end at 11:59 pm local time on Sunday, September 21. However, players should be able to access their accounts through October 5, allowing them to manage and cash out any account balances.
While the shutdown is coming with little notice, there’s no indication that player funds are at any risk. According to Ultimate, players will be able to withdraw their cash balances normally through September 28. After that date, balances will begin being automatically refunded to gamblers at their registered addresses.
The closure of the Ultimate online gambling operation comes after a rash of casino closures in Atlantic City. Since each online poker or casino site must be paired with a brick-and-mortar casino in the city, this has left some Internet gaming partners scrambling to find new casinos to work with.
Betfair Fairs No Better
Another online gambling company, Betfair, finds itself in a similar situation. They were partnered with the Trump Plaza, but that casino closed earlier this summer. The DGE is allowing them to continue operations temporarily without being partnered with a casino, but it’s likely that they’ll eventually have to find someone to work with to satisfy regulators.
Ultimate Poker was perhaps the least popular poker room in the New Jersey market. While Ultimate has established itself solidly as the second-largest Internet poker room in Nevada, it has struggled to attract any significant traffic in New Jersey, with only a few cash game tables operating, even in peak hours. The state’s online poker market is led by a partypoker/Borgata site, with the Caesars-backed WSOP.com not far behind.