Two Caesars Entertainment casinos, Caesars and Bally’s, have just received licenses to participate in New Jersey’s five-day soft launch starting tomorrow in partnership with Caesars Interactive Entertainment (CIE). The approvals make a total of seven casinos which will soon be able to launch, but five others still remain without licenses. The Atlantic Club, which recently went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Caesars-owned Harrah’s and Showboat, Revel and Resorts still remain out of the game.
Casino Control Commission Chairman Matthew Levinson made several remarks during today’s discussion concerning the company’s financial viability, software security controls and Mitch Garber’s past as a Party Poker executive. “I am convinced that Caesars Interactive Entertainment has established its financial stability and that the recent restructuring of the Caesars companies does not negatively impact it,” said Levinson during the hearing.
The commission was also satisfied with the company’s approach to limiting play to those physically inside the state and controlling underage and problem gamblers. “We also have heard testimony detailing Caesars’ plans for the initial implementation of its internet gaming platforms and how controls are in place to restrict the service only to people within the state of New Jersey and who are 21 or older,” said Levinson. “We also heard about efforts to limit the potential impact that its internet operations may have on problem gamblers. We accept those assurances and note that Caesars has long had a very strong commitment to responsible gaming,” the Commissioner continued.
He then addressed Mitch Garber’s involvement in the online poker industry after the UIGEA was passed. “Mr. Garber testified that when the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act became law in 2006, he, as Chief Executive Officer of Party Gaming voluntarily facilitated its withdrawal from the US market and fully cooperated with the US Department of Justice in its investigation of illegal internet gaming activity.”
The commission seemed to agree that companies operating before the UIGEA was passed were not doing anything blatantly illegal, saying that, “the division does not believe that the information regarding Mister Garber’s prior activities is sufficient to disqualify him. I believe that Mister Garber has established that he possesses the good character, honesty and integrity needed to be found qualified,” said Levinson.
With that in mind, he issued Caesars with the coveted licenses to launch iGaming in the state. “I am convinced that CIE NJ has fully satisfied the criteria for the issuance of a casino license,” he said.
The commission Chairman wrapped up his remarks by showing his excitement toward the coming launch of online gaming in New Jersey, which will be open to the public on November 26. “Not only is it an economic opportunity for the casinos to provide internet gaming as another entertainment option, but it will undoubtedly create broader economic benefits through new jobs in areas such as technology and marketing, as well as enhance opportunities for related businesses,” he said. “It will also put New Jersey in the forefront in the field of internet gaming and position us to serve as a hub and a model for the future expansion across the nation. We all look forward to a successful launch.”