Wynn Resorts does not operate any casinos in Atlantic City, and Chairman Steve Wynn hasn’t shown any real interest in online gambling.
Take those factors together, and perhaps it was inevitable that the company wouldn’t go through with Internet gambling in New Jersey.
Wynn Interactive, a subsidiary of Wynn Resorts, has officially withdrawn its application for a New Jersey online gambling license.
The company sent a request to end the application process earlier this month, and officials at the New Jersey Department of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) approved the request soon thereafter.
Wynn Interactive’s pursuit of a New Jersey license began in July 2013. Early in 2014, regulators approved the brand to work with Caesars Interactive to provide software and games to New Jersey gamblers.
Despite the approval, however, it quickly became apparent that Wynn Interactive had little, if any, interest in taking advantage of the opportunity.
While Wynn had previously expressed at least some possible inclination to launch online gambling, a spokesperson responded to the news that they had received approval by saying that the company didn’t see online gambling as “a good entrepreneurial opportunity.”
Since then, Wynn’s general opposition to online gambling has become even clearer. While he has never shown the outright hostility to the concept that Las Vegas Sands Chairman Sheldon Adelson has brought to the table, and he has not made any efforts to stop the spread of the industry, he has shared his misgivings on both ethical and business grounds on several occasions.
During his keynote address to the Global Gaming Expo last year, Wynn answered a question about online gambling.
His reply showed that he didn’t believe others were right about the opportunity to make money through Internet gaming, that he feared it would be heavily taxed, and that he worried about problems with children or others gaining access to the sites, causing wider troubles for the gaming industry.
For Wynn, an online gambling operation in New Jersey would have marked a long-awaited return to Atlantic City.
Ever since he owned the Golden Nugget casino (which eventually came to be known as the Atlantic Club) there in the 1980s, there has been speculation that he might return, but nothing has every materialized.
The New Jersey online gambling market hasn’t yet met the lofty expectations that were set for it before it launched in late 2013, but it has experienced steady growth since then.
Internet gaming brought in more than $12.2 million in revenue for Atlantic City casinos this August, up nearly 16 percent compared to the same month in 2014.
However, that growth has not been uniform across the industry. Online poker has generally seen declines over the past two years, with poker sites in New Jersey seeing revenues fall almost 12 percent year-over-year in August.
While Wynn Interactive may have voluntarily withdrawn, the DGE has another application it is considering that has proven much more controversial.
Amaya is trying to have PokerStars licensed in the state, a process that has taken far longer than anyone anticipated.
According to DGE Director David Rebuck, the lengthy review has been due to his department’s efforts to investigate Amaya’s purchase of the Rational Group, and his commitment to making sure the high-profile decision is reached in a way that reflects well on the DGE.