With online gambling in New Jersey set to launch on November 16, state regulators issued a June 29 deadline for partnership agreements to be forged.
Casinos that fail to name gaming company partners that will provide software and other services by that end-of-month deadline run the risk of missing out on a timely November launch. Being part of New Jersey’s online gaming “grand opening” in November is seen as crucial to establishing a presence as one of the first-to-market in providing Internet gambling offerings.
The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement issued the deadline in writing to casino operators. That communication has apparently caused several European online gaming providers to step up their efforts to partner with Atlantic City casinos. Those out-of-towners wishing to participate in the state’s Internet gaming regime must join forces with one of the state’s dozen casinos, short of owning one themselves.
That leaves limited opportunities considering that the Borgata has already found a partner in bwin.party and Caesars Entertainment operates several other land-based casinos in the Garden State. It is the main reason why PokerStars attempted to purchase the Atlantic Club. That deal was terminated by a state court judge last month when it was ruled that the leading online poker site failed to secure a casino license by the stipulated date of April 26.
State officials set the June 29 deadline because time is needed to investigate foreign companies named as partners. Nevada ran into a problem following its launch on April 30 when it was learned that a partner of Ultimate Poker had a somewhat shady past in an affiliation with UltimateBet. New Jersey regulators are hoping to avoid such discrepancies by having ample time to check the histories of potential partners.
After casinos disclose their partners by June 29, New Jersey gaming regulators will provide more details in July regarding additional steps to follow. Failure to meet any deadlines imposed may cause investigative delays that would likely postpone the rubber-stamped approval to launch on November 16. That is the target launch date of officials, but is not set in stone as complications do sometimes arise.
However, New Jersey’s budget for 2014 includes anticipated revenue from online gaming. So having sites operating efficiently prior to the new year is a goal that state honchos hope to meet. A mid-November launch date would allow plenty of time for any problems to be resolved before the calendar turns to 2014.
Overseas companies that fail to reach agreements on partnerships with New Jersey casinos have but one other option to be included in the state’s Internet gambling plan. Purchase an Atlantic City casino and obtain their own license. The Atlantic Club is reportedly still available following the failed bid by PokerStars. Additional reports convey that a few others may also be on the market in light of six straight years of falling revenues for the state’s gambling industry.
Pennsylvania recently overtook New Jersey as the no. 2 gambling market in the country behind Nevada. But those positions may flip-flop once again after New Jersey launches its online gambling scheme and revenue from Internet wagering is factored in. A recent proposal to legislate online gambling in Pennsylvania has stalled and may not be revived until 2015, according to PokerNewsReport.com.
New Jersey officially published its online gaming regulations earlier this month. Those who wish to do so have a 60-day period to comment and perhaps make suggestions. It is encouraging to see that timetables are being set and and a plan is in place that will allow New Jersey residents to play online poker by the end of the year. Hopefully, other states will quickly follow suit and the rest of the nation can soon join the likes of Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware in enjoying regulated online poker.