According to announcements from the players involved, the New Jersey online gaming industry will be growing by one very soon.
Last week, MGM Resorts International announced that they would be teaming with GVC Holdings PLC – the ownership behind partypoker – to bring a new entry into the Garden State’s online gaming and poker offerings. MGM, which owns the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa on the Atlantic City boardwalk (and is already offering a popular set of sites), has been looking for some way to introduce an eponymously named sites that would work as a compatriot for the Borgata operation but still be standing on its own. Later this year, MGM will offer GVC’s software to run its games (at this point, it looks like the site may be called “PlayMGM.com”), looking to have over 300 casino games along with cash and tournament poker that will not only be offered online but also will be offered through mobile variants.
Naturally, both companies were excited to extend their partnership into another venue. “We are delighted to extend our relationship with MGM Resorts and to be launching casino and poker under the playMGM brand in New Jersey,” said GVC’s Chief Operating Officer Shay Segev. “MGM Resorts is quite simply one of the biggest and best names in the business, and we look forward to working with them for many years to come.”
Echoing those sentiments was Corey Sanders, the Chief Operating Officer of MGM Resorts. “This is a historic moment for MGM Resorts to be launching real money online casino and poker under the MGM brand for the first time. GVC has been a first-rate partner for us, and we are excited about the possibilities of extending that partnership as regulated markets open up in the U.S.”
The Borgata/GVC partnership has been a profitable one for both sides. Since their partnership began when New Jersey opened for online gaming and poker in 2013, the Borgata and GVC have earned over $152 million, outpacing the second-place operation of Caesars/Harrah’s and 888 Holdings (have earned slightly more than $117 million in the same time span). Those two organizations have dominated the online poker segment of the New Jersey industry, with Borgata/GVC slightly outpacing Caesars/Harrah’s/888 by slightly more than $5 million.
Whether there is enough room for another operation in New Jersey is the question, however. When it was introduced in 2013, the two properties with a similar name – the Trump Taj Mahal and the Trump Plaza – were both involved in the Jersey online gaming scene. Within a couple of months, the Plaza was left in wreckage along the side of the road, while the Taj Mahal (paired with the now-defunct Ultimate Gaming) was able to stagger on until September 2014. Once Ultimate Gaming closed its doors, the Taj Majal lost its partner in the dance and shut off its operations (both properties are now closed).
A newcomer, Resorts AC, was one of the companies that was struggling on the sidelines in November 2015, but that was before they signed a deal with the company that was thought to be the “savior” of online poker in New Jersey. Resorts AC (already running an online casino operation), and its partnership with Amaya Gaming and the #1 online poker site in the world PokerStars, came into the fray in March 2016 and, to be honest, has not brought the throngs that people thought would turn out (especially in the poker arena). Since the debut of PokerStars in New Jersey in March 2016, they have consistently been the #1 online poker operation in New Jersey, but that lead is not dominant. After an initial burst of activity, the three online rooms have settled in to divvying up the $2 million online poker market in the state roughly equally.
The question will have to be asked if there are enough customers to support another online casino/poker operation in the state, but we’ll have to wait to see what that outcome will be. The new MGM/GVC partnership won’t open its doors until later this year, at which point players will decide whether the newcomers are worthy contenders or just another site.