It’s Official: Borgata Scores First New Jersey iGaming License
Last week New Jersey gaming regulators confirmed that real-money online betting would be ready to commence at 9 a.m. on November 26th, prompting a flurry of speculation as to which company would be the first to be handed a license by state officials.
That speculation is now over, with word coming this week that the Borgata, jointly owned by Boyd Gaming and MGM, is the first Atlantic City property given permission to operate a real-money online gambling venture.
The Borgata has partnered with bwin.party
Under the terms of New Jersey’s Internet wagering law, which was signed by first-term Republican Governor Chris Christie back in February – making New Jersey the third state in the nation to clear the way for some form of regulated online betting – online gambling operations must be tied to one of Atlantic City’s twelve land-based casino properties.
The Borgata, widely considered to be Atlantic City’s most luxurious hotel and casino, has teamed up with bwin.party, which is licensed in Gibraltar. In New Jersey, real-money online poker and other forms of casino games will be permitted so long as players are over the legal age of twenty-one and are physically located in New Jersey when accessing the sites.
According to Reuters, the New Jersey online gambling market is predicted to haul in an estimated $500 million to $1 billion in annual revenue. By comparison, in Nevada, where only online poker is permitted to the exclusion of other forms of online wagering, the market is anticipated to bring in between $50 million and $250 million per year.
The Borgata is no doubt pleased to be the first to test the New Jersey market, with its CEO and president Tom Ballance remarking, “We are honored to receive New Jersey’s first Internet gaming permit. Borgata and bwin.party are aggressively pursuing our objective of being among the first to launch online gaming in the state.”
“We believe online gaming is an exciting growth opportunity for New Jersey’s gaming industry, one that will generate significant benefits for the state as New Jersey assumes a leadership role in this emerging form of gaming entertainment,” Ballance was quoted as saying after word of the company’s approval broke.
One feature to be excluded will be peer to peer transfers
The New Jersey Department of Gaming Enforcement has been hearing public commentary on the draft regulations that will govern the state’s nascent online gambling market; it will formally enact new regulations on October 21st.
Though iGaming in New Jersey officially kicks off on November 26th, operators are required to “soft launch” five days prior, on the 21st of November. The soft launch will be essentially a testing period, with players able to play on the sites by invitation only.
This week the DGE said that one thing that New Jersey online bettors won’t be able to do once the sites are active is transfer money to each other using peer to peer transfers. Citing concerns about money laundering, which many industry experts say are overblown, the DGE has denied a request by Isle of Man-based the Rational Group, parent company of online poker behemoth PokerStars, to allow such transfers.
PokerStars, the world’s largest online poker room, has not operated a U.S.-facing online poker room since 2011, when the federal government cracked down on offshore online gambling companies that continued to offer real-money games to Americans after the 2006 passage of the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA), a law that restricts financial transactions relating to Internet betting while not making such wager explicitly illegal.
It too is seeking a license to operate in New Jersey. After a failed attempt to purchase the struggling Atlantic Club Casino and Hotel, PokerStars announced a deal with Resorts, where, if approved, the company plans to build a $10 million live poker room.
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