Licenses have been issued. Operators are locked and loaded. It’s time to launch real-money online gambling in the Garden State.
During a gaming hearing on Wednesday, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) worked through the final round of license approvals ahead of the state's Internet gambling soft launch set to begin on Thursday, Nov. 21. The biggest name still under review entering Wednesday's hearing was gambling giant Caesars Interactive Entertainment, a subsidiary of Caesars Entertainment, which owns four properties in Atlantic City — Harrah's, Showboat, Caesars and Bally's. Two of those — Caesars and Bally's — have now been greenlighted to offer Web gambling in New Jersey, according to numerous reports.
Caesars will run its online gaming platform through 888 Holdings and Amaya Gaming. 888 will power Caesars' WSOP-branded poker product, similar to the WSOP.com operation already running in Nevada, while Amaya will provide software services for the online casino (CaesarsCasino.com).
With the addition of Caesars' two properties, seven of the 12 casinos in Atlantic City have been approved to offer online gambling in New Jersey. Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, Golden Nugget Atlantic City, Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort, Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, and Tropicana Casino and Resort have each been awarded permits.
In addition to Harrah's and Showboat, the only other establishment with a license application still under review is Resorts Casino Hotel, which has partnered with PokerStars' parent company The Rational Group for online gambling. Revel Casino Hotel and The Atlantic Club Casino Hotel have not revealed any plans to enter the market.
PokerStars remains committed to entering the New Jersey market, according to a statement from Rational Group Head of Corporate Communications Eric Hollreiser on Wednesday.
"Our conversations with NJ DGE are continuing, however it is now apparent that we will not have approval in place to launch on Nov. 26," Hollreiser said via Twitter. "We remain committed to working with the Division to complete the review process."
Online gaming in New Jersey will begin with a soft launch on Thursday, Nov. 21, between 6 p.m. and 2 a.m., and continue Friday during those same hours. The trial period will continue Saturday from 8 a.m. until midnight, and all day Sunday and Monday. Operators are in the process of selecting pre-registered players to participate in the test phase.
If all goes well, the full-scale launch will take place Tuesday, Nov. 26.