While the news that Betfair’s New Jersey poker platform has garnered just $48 (yes, you read that right) in gross gaming revenue so far in 2014 had the poker forums reeling in disbelief earlier this month, the UK company’s online casino offering has been largely successful, taking in $3.7 million in gross gaming revenue so far this year.
That, and the fact that Betfair has invested hundreds of thousands in the fledgling New Jersey market, had many wondering what it would do when Trump Plaza, its land-based partner in the state, closes down in September, as expected.
Under New Jersey gaming regulations, a company like Betfair, offering an online gaming platform to the New Jersey market, must partner with an existing land-based licensee, and the announcement several weeks ago from Trump Entertainment that the Plaza will close unless a buyer can be found seemed to leave Betfair and its New Jersey ambitions out in the cold.
However, an insider says that Betfair’s operations in the state are secure. According to the source, the company has been in talks with deputy head of New Jersey’s Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) George Rover, who is satisfied that it can continue to trade. Rover accepts that Betfair’s agreement is with Trump Entertainment, rather than the Plaza itself, and therefore its remote gaming interests will continue uninterrupted as a partner with Trump Entertainment’s other Atlantic City property, the Trump Taj Mahal, in the event of the Plaza’s closure. Betfair apparently already hosts its technical platform within the Taj, and so the transition should be seamless.
While the Taj has an online gambling partnership with Ultimate Gaming, New Jersey law allows a land-based operator to host up to five different gaming platforms at any one time, although this does raise the question as to how the reshuffle will work in terms of conflicted marketing interests.
Media sources also revealed that Revel Casino, which, like the Plaza, is desperately seeking a buyer in order to forestall closure, also hosts a number of remote gaming servers on its premises. Revel has been leaking $2 million a week due to huge operational costs, and has filed for bankruptcy. The closure of Revel, therefore, has the potential to disrupt several remote gambling operations in New Jersey.
Last week, Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian announced that Revel was in talks with “half a dozen” potential buyers, although if an acquisition can be agreed upon, it’s expected to sell for a tiny fraction of the $2.4 billion the casino originally cost to build. Guardian also said that there was interest in the Showboat, which also faces closure, but he added that he “has not heard” of any companies looking to acquire the Trump Plaza, which has been the poorest-performing Atlantic City casino for a number of years.