Politics and online gaming make strange bedfellows; people and businesses who may be locked in heated warfare with one another at some point have to make alliances at other points in order to make things happen. The latest crazy coupling rumor is swirling around the possibility of casino arch-rivals Caesars Entertainment Corp. and Wynn Resorts Ltd. making nicey-nice so they can get online up and running in soon-to-be-launched New Jersey’s Internet casino offerings.
Not only do new Internet operators have to be aligned with a brick-and-mortar casino, their gambling site servers have to be located inside a land casino’s property in order to pass muster with New Jersey gaming regulators.
Changing Dance Partners
As we all know, Rational Group – the parent company of PokerStars – tried to establish their stake with an attempted-but-failed purchase of the Atlantic Club, which happens to be the latest incarnation of a casino originally built by Steve Wynn himself. Rational moved on to an alliance with Resorts Casino Hotel when Atlantic Club fell through, and although Wynn has been quite circumspect on his online gaming views, there were all kinds of rumors that he was actually going to buy back his old property, the Atlantic Club, himself, with an eye on using it as his Internet licensing launching pad.
But – as with any good soap opera – things can change on a dime, and now it’s looking like Caesars Atantic City may be on Wynn’s dance card instead of Atlantic Club. If that happens – with Caesars allowing Wynn to use their property for his online site servers – it may be the most unexpected marriage since Anthony Weiner found anyone to take him on.
888 the Common Thread
There is a common denominator, it turns out, to bond the two rivals here, and that is 888 Holdings PLC; both casino empires have inked deals to use 888 to service their Internet poker needs. Nonetheless, with a raging battle taking place in Massachusetts over who will get one of a few very limited casino licenses there (brick-and-mortar, that is), it’s an odd-ish detente between these two gaming conglomerates.
But 888 chief operating officer Itai Frieberger noted that it’s a necessary evil of the unfurling of online gaming in an non federally regulated Internet zone.
“As the online business rolls out on a state-by-state basis, everyone will need to partner with someone,” Frieberger told Bloomberg News recently. “You’ll find very strong partnerships in some cases with competitors in order to get a license.”
Even if there is truth to this rumored alliance, expect some polygamy to go on; New Jersey gaming regulators rules about servers needing to be housed within casinos don’t mean that said casinos cannot house as many competing servers as they wish, according to director of New Jersey’s Division of Gaming Enforcement, David Rebuck.
“On one side of the room ABC company can have its server, next to it can be a server from another company,” Rebuck said in an interview on the topic.
Sounds just like Sister Wives, except it’s all legal.