Wynn Approved for Internet Gambling in New Jersey, but Now Siding with Adelson?
Wynn Resorts Ltd. has officially been approved to offer online gambling in New Jersey, but the casino giant may no longer be interested in the recently-launched market.
On Monday it was made public that Wynn had been approved for a transactional waiver by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE), allowing the company to offer Internet gambling through Caesars Interactive Entertainment. Caesars gave Wynn permission to use one of its gambling permits in the Garden State since Wynn doesn't own a casino there.
However, in a startling interview with Las Vegas political journalist Jon Ralston over the weekend, Wynn Resorts Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn said that doesn't see a business opportunity in online gaming, whether it be in New Jersey or Nevada. Wynn, along with many other companies applied for a license to offer online poker in Nevada, but only Caesars (WSOP.com) and Ultimate Gaming (UltimatePoker.com) are open for business. Meanwhile, 15 sites are already offering online gambling in New Jersey.
Wynn said in November that he was observing the iGaming process and was "neither a proponent nor opponent of it." But he told Ralston over the weekend that he "agrees with Sheldon [Adelson]" in opposing online gambling. Adelson, the Chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands, has launched a campaign to ban Internet gambling in the U.S. He claims he's willing to spend whatever it takes to protect children and others who are "vulnerable to the temptations and potential harms of online betting."
Regardless of Wynn's stance on the issue, the early financial numbers in New Jersey and Nevada have been less than impressive to his company.
"We’ll put everything on hold and monitor it for now," Wynn Resorts spokesman Michael Weaver told the Associated Press on Monday.
While seven of the 12 licensed casinos in Atlantic City are offering online gambling in New Jersey, only four sites are running online poker games. According to PokerScout.com, partypoker (partnered with Borgata) is leading the way, averaging 220 real-money cash game players over the past seven days. Caesars Interactive Entertainment's World Series of Poker-branded site, powered by 888 Holdings, had a seven-day average of 190 players, while the All American Poker Network (130 players) has been gaining momentum in recent weeks and closing the gap on the two gaming giants. Ultimate Poker rounds out New Jersey's online poker operators, averaging 14 real-money players over the past seven days.