With Trump Plaza set to close in one week, Betfair is hoping to find a new casino partner in order to continue its igaming operations in New Jersey.
New Jersey online gambling statutes put into effect in 2013 state that igaming licensees who are not casino operators must align themselves with an existing bricks and mortar casino. Betfair teamed with Trump Plaza, but the casino will shut its doors on Sept. 16, the fourth such closing in Atlantic City this year.
The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) has ruled that Betfair may continue to operate its online poker and gambling sites beyond the Trump Plaza’s closing date. The DGE was apparently swayed by Betfair’s plea that the company has made significant investments in the Garden State and its igaming regime.
DGE director David Rebuck has also ordered that Betfair be permitted involvement in discussions pertaining to its status as an online gaming licensee. While Betfair requested to be fully involved in said matters, Rebuck has limited the London-based company’s participation to the submission of written documentation as required.
Apparently, communication between Betfair and Trump Plaza honchos has been strained, as casino representatives have reportedly neglected to answer written requests to discuss various issues surrounding the casino closure. Those issues include financial matters, with Trump likely in arrears in releasing funds in connection with the partnership.
Number of Available Partners Dwindling
As Betfair seeks out a new partnership, its options have lessened due to a recent spate of casino closings in Atlantic City that have decimated the state’s bricks and mortar gaming industry. In addition to Trump Plaza, the Atlantic Club, Showboat and Revel casinos are no longer viable partners due to shutdowns of their own.
Recent reports indicate that the Trump Taj Mahal is also on the road to bankruptcy, with a November closing date on the horizon. If those reports are accurate, only Bally’s, Harrah’s, Caesars, Resorts, Borgata, Tropicana and the Golden Nugget casinos will remain. Of those seven, the first three are all operated by Caesars Entertainment.
While the current situation is not a good one for Betfair in New Jersey, the London bookmaker can take solace in the fact that Q1 results for this year have been excellent overall. Buoyed by wagering on the World Cup, profits were up 39%.
Summit on Atlantic City Future at 2:00 p.m. Today
Gov. Chris Christie has called for a summit to be held today for state officials and casino executives to discuss the future of Atlantic City. That future may include new casinos located in the northern end of the state to capture some of the gamblers who travel out-of-state to gamble.
Should that option be approved, it would open up new possibilities for gaming companies wishing to partner with a land-based casino. That doesn’t help Betfair at the moment, however, as the company must find a new ally rather quickly in order to keep operating its online gambling offerings in New Jersey.