Wynn Approved for Online Gambling in NJ, but Reneges

Posted on February 7th, 2014 by Robert DellaFave

Wynn Approved for Online Gambling in NJ, but RenegesDespite receiving authority from the DGE to offer Internet gambling in New Jersey, Wynn Resorts Ltd is holding off on online gambling.

On Monday, it was revealed that New Jersey’s Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) had authorized Wynn Resorts Ltd., in conjunction with Caesars Entertainment, to begin offering iGaming services in the Garden State. But now it has been exposed that Wynn – which is headed by business magnate Steve Wynn – has elected not to peruse online gambling at this time.

Thus, the question lends itself: Why apply for a gaming license that you have no intention to use?

Wynn had originally applied for an iGaming license in 2013, well before New Jersey’s iGaming market went live. In the months that followed, the now active market has been plagued by a myriad of geo-location issues, software bugs and poor customer service.

Suffice to say, the outspoken Wynn was not impressed. In a recent interview, Wynn rescinded his earlier optimism, stating that he no longer saw online gambling as a business opportunity. He called into question the site’s tracking technology, ultimately calling it bullshit.

Spokesman Michael Weaver mirrored Wynn’s sentiment, stating that the amount of revenue generated by New Jersey’s gambling sites in its first month and change on the market were remarkably unimpressive.

Weaver was equally apathetic towards Nevada’s poker scene, which since its inception has struggled mightily. Although no official numbers have been released, the Union Gaming Group puts gaming revenue in Nevada at around $200,000 per month – mere pennies for a guy like Steve Wynn.

It’s also possible that a recent poll conducted by Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind had a profound influence on Wynn. The poll revealed that New Jersey residents were more opposed to regulated online gambling than they were in March 2013. It is likely that the shift occurred because iGaming marketing has become so prevalent in New Jersey – reality frightens people more than ideas.

That said, New Jersey’s burgeoning gambling market isn’t exactly failing either. In its first month, the DGE reported $8.4 million in iGaming revenue. And as of mid-January, over 150,000 users have created accounts, although the average number of accounts per user is currently unknown.

Yet, the positive signs weren’t enough to instill faith in Wynn Resorts, who feel its efforts are better spent pursuing “good entrepreneurial opportunities.”

Caesars Entertainment was allowing Wynn to use one of its many gaming permits to conduct iGaming operations. Wynn would be partnered with 888 via the All American Poker Network, which currently consists of 888poker. To date, Caesars is in charge of six NJ-based gambling sites including 888poker, WSOP and four casino-only sites.  It owns twenty gaming licenses – five for each of its Atlantic City based casinos.

On a side, Wynn’s withdrawal from the iGaming landscape is not synonymous with him joining Sheldon Anderson’s push to illegalize all forms of regulated online gambling. It’s merely that Wynn itself will not be participating in it. Furthermore, Wynn will reportedly not be granting Anderson financial backing towards his campaign.

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