Betfair Appears to Have Plans to Stay in New Jersey Online Gaming Market
Announced plans for a New Jersey mobile game launch by a frequent partner of Betfair is a hint that the West London gaming company may be planning to remain in the New Jersey market. Betfair future in New Jersey has been in some doubt after its original partner, Trump Plaza, closed its doors on September 16.
At present, Betfair’s New Jersey licensed online gambling portal continues to operate. A state judge gave Betfair an extension on how long it could continue to operate legally, giving the company a chance to find a new partner in the New Jersey gaming market. Still, the extension is tied to the continue last-minute operations of Trump Plaza’s executives, so the extension is likely to last only a few weeks.
GameAccount Announces Mobile Gaming App Launch
GameAccount announced this week it would launch a mobile gaming app with an “undisclosed US casino operator” in the 1st Quarter of 2015. Details of this operator were not provided, but most speculation centers around Betfair, given the two companies’ longstanding cooperation.
Dermot Smurfit, the CEO of GameAccount Network, said in a statement to the press, “On-property Mobile Casino gaming is the natural evolution of Internet-based gaming for US casino operators. We are delighted to have been chosen as the provider of On-property Mobile Gaming for a major US casino, and will seek to deliver this innovative solution for the Operator as soon as possible in 2015.”
Possible Partners for GameAccount
The options are limited for the GameAccount partnership. Only three U.S. states have legalized online gambling, while no others will have gambling by the time Q1 of 2015 rolls around. Nevada and Delaware have no natural partners for GameAccount, so most signs point to a company in the New Jersey gaming market.
Of those companies, Betfair appears to be the most logical assumption. Game-Account already helps to operate Betfair.com, so it is the only real money website in the USA whose software GameAccount powers. The company does power the free play sites for three U.S. land casinos: Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut, Empire City Casino in New York, and Osage Casino in Oklahoma. None of those casinos offer “for money” gaming, so GameAccount’s other American partners do not appear to be possibilities.
Division of Gaming Enforcement Extensions
Because Betfair has an arrangement with the Division of Gaming Enforcement at the moment, it is possible that it might find a way to extend that arrangement or come to a new understanding with the DGE.
New Jersey gaming laws are in a state of flux at present, with Governor Chris Christie challenging the federal sports gambling laws on a technical issue. While New Jersey cannot license online sports betting websites, it is Christie’s lawyers’ belief that New Jersey is allowed under federal law to allow legal gambling to exist, so long as they do not directly license and regulate such gambling.
Legalized Sports Betting
Such a plan would be a “best of both worlds” opportunity for New Jersey’s casinos and racetracks, because they could collect sports betting revenues without having to pay taxes to the state.
The final option is the GameAccount announcement is simply fluff to excite shareholders. It would be highly unlikely for a company to fabricate such stories without a reasonable chance of pulling it off, because that could offend the one group of people whose investments depend on the company’s future.
The Nature of Partnerships
New readers might be wondering why Betfair needs to partner with Trump Taj Mahal. Under New Jersey gaming law, an online gaming operator like Betfair is only able to obtain and maintain a license if it is partnered with a licensed land-based casino. That means Betfair would need to partner with one of the seven remaining Atlantic City casinos. Those casino operations mainly have a partner, though Resorts Casino is still in limbo, bue to the complicated legal situation involving PokerStars. Because PokerStars was recently bought by Amaya Gaming, it is thought that Resorts Casino could continue with that partnership.
Ultimate Gaming, which had a similar partnership with Trump Taj Mahal, announced in the last week that it will leave the New Jersey market. Trump Taj Mahal plans to close its doors on November 13 or shortly after, if it cannot find an interested buyer who could keep gambling operations going.
The partnership between Ultimate and the Trump Taj Mahal would have lasted until mid-November, says a spokesman for Ultimate Gaming, but the Trump Entertainment casino stopped paying Ultimate for its part of operations two months ago. With no operating capital, Ultimate Gaming has ended player signups and announced it is leaving the market. Already registered players continue to gamble there, but not for long.
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