Betfair and Caesars Entertainment have reached an agreement that will keep the online gambling company in New Jersey for at least another six months. The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) has signed off on the deal between the two companies, one that comes after Betfair was left without a partner following the bankruptcy of Trump Entertainment Resorts.
Betfair’s first Internet gambling partner in New Jersey was the Trump Plaza. However, that casino closed down in September, forcing Betfair to find a new home. It appeared as though the company might be able to stay in the other Trump Entertainment Resorts casino in Atlantic City, the Trump Taj Mahal. Betfair’s servers were already located in the Taj Mahal, making it a simple solution.
But later last month, the Trump Entertainment Resorts bankruptcy proceedings began, and the company said that in all likelihood, the Taj Mahal would also be shut down later this year. That once again left Betfair without a land-based partner in the state, something required to operate under New Jersey regulations. The DGE did allow Betfair to temporarily remain active in the state, but that arrangement was not a long-term solution.
The deal with Caesars, which was originally signed by the two parties on September 22, should give Betfair a little more security. The transactional waiver that was granted by the DGE is good for six months, ensuring that the company can host their servers at Bally’s Atlantic City during that time period.
Caesars already has existing partnerships for online gambling in the state, most notably with 888, which runs its WSOP.com poker site. However, New Jersey does not require casino operators to enter into exclusive agreements with their partners, so Betfair should be able to join the Caesars family without any changes to their existing operations.
However, it’s not clear how much Caesars will benefit from having a deal with Betfair, at least on the poker side of their operations. While WSOP.com is one of the leading sites in the New Jersey market (trailing only the partypoker/Borgata site by a narrow margin in terms of traffic), Betfair’s site, which utilizes software from the Ongame Network, has virtually no traffic or revenue to speak of. It’s unlikely Caesars would want to promote a competitor to its own flagship poker product, either.
However, the land casino giant could stand to gain from Betfair’s online operations. While Betfair ranked second-to-last in online gambling revenues (ahead of only the defunct Ultimate Gaming) in August, its casino site did bring in over $700,000 that month, or a little less than seven percent of the total revenue in New Jersey’s Internet gambling market. That could potentially prove to be a nice complementary piece to Caesars’ online gaming operation, with Betfair perhaps being tied to a specific casino property (Caesars operates three casinos in Atlantic City).
Betfair is likely to benefit from a more active relationship with Caesars than the one it had with Trump Entertainment Resorts. The Trump casinos have been noted for putting relatively little effort into promoting their affiliated online gambling sites, something that may have also hampered Ultimate Gaming’s efforts in New Jersey.