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Best of Howard Stutz

Gaming Guru

Howard Stutz
 

Instead of boom, a whimper from New Jersey Internet gambling

22 September 2014

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- Internet gaming hasn’t provided the windfall New Jersey officials had hoped would come and that analysts had predicted.

Through August, online wagering revenue was $83.6 million for the six casinos operating the state’s websites, less than half once imagined for the market.

PokerStars could change the outlook.

The Isle of Man-based online gaming giant has a deal to operate online gaming with Resorts Atlantic City.

"We think PokerStars will help grow the market and provide New Jersey with the best product online," Resorts President Mark Giannantonio said.

PokerStars was bought this year by Amaya Gaming Group, Inc., of Canada for $4.9 billion.

The website controls 54 percent of global online gaming traffic outside the United States and could be a boost to New Jersey.

However, casino operators want to keep PokerStars on the sidelines. The company operated illegally in the United States after the 2006 passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. PokerStars paid a $731 million settlement to federal prosecutors two years ago to erase criminal and civil charges.

Borgata President Tom Ballance agreed that PokerStars would expand New Jersey’s online gaming market, where Borgata, which operates in New Jersey with Bwin.party, is market leader with 36.5 percent of all online revenue.

"PokerStars will spend a lot of money in advertising," Ballance said. "That helps all of us."

However, Ballance and other gaming leaders are concerned PokerStars will still be able to use its database of players captured after it was operating illegally.

New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement Director David Rebuck said the agency is investigating Amaya’s buyout of PokerStars and how the management of the business has been restructured.

"We know this is an issue of great importance to industry," Rebuck said. "(PokerStars) has been out of the U.S. for three-and-a-half years already. There is no debate on that."
Instead of boom, a whimper from New Jersey Internet gambling is republished from Online.CasinoCity.com.