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Betfair Enters Into Agreement with Golden Nugget to Continue NJ Operations

After what can only be described as a worrisome period filled with uncertainty about their future, Betfair’s New Jersey online casino has found a new, stable home, and will continue to offer online gambling in the Garden State.

Betfair’s New Jersey online gaming operations hit a snag when its partner, Trump Plaza, shuttered its casino in September. All iGaming sites in the state must be run through a land-based casino’s license, so the closure of Trump Plaza left Betfair scrambling to find a new land-based casino to partner with before Trump Plaza officially turned in its license to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.

After a quick stop at Caesars (Caesars allowed Betfair to house their data center on Caesars property), Betfair is moving on to a more permanent home, having come to an agreement with the Golden Nugget in Atlantic City.

The migration to the Golden Nugget

In a press release issued on Tuesday, Golden Nugget and Betfair announced they would join together in order to allow Betfair’s online casino and poker room to continue to operate in New Jersey uninterrupted.

As the press release details, “Under New Jersey law, online gaming operators such as Betfair must operate under the Internet gaming permit of a land-based casino in Atlantic City,” and with the migration of Betfair to the Golden Nugget the property “will now offer two online casinos to those eligible to play in New Jersey, and, both of which will operate independently under Golden Nugget’s Internet gaming permit.”

We are very excited to move our operations to Golden Nugget Atlantic City, one of the premier resort destinations in New Jersey. With this relationship, Betfair and Golden Nugget are well positioned to accelerate growth in 2015 and beyond,” Don Ryan, Senior Vice President of Gaming for Betfair US said.

We welcome Betfair to the Golden Nugget. The combination of our complementary brands will allow Golden Nugget Atlantic City to cater to an even larger demographic of NJ online players,” said Thomas Winter, Vice President of Online Gaming for Landry’s Golden Nugget.

Partnership will shakeup online casino rankings

This is an intriguing move by the Golden Nugget, and one that will have significant ramifications when it comes to the online casino hierarchy in New Jersey.

For its near-one-year existence, the New Jersey online casino market has been what can best be described as a two-class system. At the top were Borgata, Tropicana and Caesars, while Golden Nugget, Betfair and Ultimate Gaming formed a trail pack.

You can see the two-class structure at play in the Year-To-Date online casino revenue numbers from the NJ DGE:

1. Borgata – $21,935,551

2. Tropicana – $16,103,389

3. Caesars – $16,063,377

4. Golden Nugget – $6,142,008

5. Betfair – $5,821,419

6. Ultimate Gaming (Closed) – $4,691,684

This dividing line started to blur in recent months, and the gap between the “haves” and the “have nots” has closed even further following the departure of Ultimate Gaming in September, as you can see from October’s DGE revenue report:

7. Borgata – $2,183,244

8. Tropicana – $1,925,238

9. Caesars – $1,548,224

10. Golden Nugget – $1,004,452

11. Betfair – $855,869

With Tuesday’s news that Betfair will be migrating to Golden Nugget, New Jersey will be down to just four online casino operators (after starting with six last year), but they will be four strong online casino operators, each with the potential to vault to the top of the market.

The reason for this is the two online casinos (Betfair and Golden Nugget) will now see their reported revenue combined in future DGE reports as both will now be operating under the Golden Nugget’s license. If the two casinos were combined in October, the rankings would look markedly different as the combination of Golden Nugget and Betfair have a solid 25% market share:

1. Borgata (Borgata and partycasino) – $2,183,244

2. Tropicana (Tropicana and Virgin) – $1,925,238

3. Golden Nugget (Golden Nugget and Betfair) – $1,860,321

4. Caesars (Caesars, 888, and Harrah’s) – $1,548,224

And as you can see, the other operators were already providing multiple online casino brands, so this is not a case of Golden Nugget and Betfair outmaneuvering their competitors.

With the addition of Betfair’s online casino revenue, Golden Nugget will now be ahead of Caesars and will challenge for the #1 spot along with Borgata and Tropicana – a spot the Borgata has held every month since New Jersey’s iGaming industry launched last November.

And it will be a serious challenge, considering Golden Nugget held steady month-over-month, while Betfair was the only online casino that saw their revenue increase from September to October.

Needless to say, things just became even more interesting in New Jersey.



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Steve Ruddock

Steve is veteran of the the poker industry, first as a player and now as a writer focusing mainly on the regulated U.S. markets and the politics of poker. Follow Steve on Twitter @SteveRuddock and at Google+.