Trump Entertainment Bankruptcy Kicks Betfair to the Curb
Posted on: September 10, 2014, 07:00h.
Last updated on: September 9, 2014, 09:31h.
Even as Trump Entertainment Resorts (TER) filed for bankruptcy protection this week, online gaming operator Betfair’s involvement in the shutdown proceedings of the Trump Plaza became more twisted. That’s because the Internet gambling provider could also soon be homeless.
Trump Plaza’s parent, Trump Entertainment Resorts, just filed for bankruptcy protection on Tuesday of this week. Betfair had originally planned and received the NJDGE’s blessing to switch their server housing over to sister property the Trump Taj Mahal, but now that property appears to be closing in mid-November as well, unless casino worker union wage battles are miraculously resolved at the eleventh hour.
As Atlantic City casinos continue to close, there are a number of ongoing storylines. Many locals are understandably concerned with the immediate loss of thousands of jobs, while officials wonder about the longer-term transformation for the city that will hopefully make it less casino-dependent. But another issue concerns the online gambling sites associated with these casinos, and exactly what software providers and other partners can do in the wake of the closures.
According to the NJDGE, these firms do at least deserve a seat at the table. The DGE has agreed to allow Betfair limited participation of the closure proceedings of the Trump Plaza, as Betfair provides the platform on which the Trump Plaza’s online offerings were based.
Participation Limited, But Written Submissions Allowed
The ruling comes after lawyers for Betfair Interactive US petitioned the DGE to have some participation in the process last month. Deputy attorney general Sara Ben-David advised the DGE that while she would be against Betfair’s wish to intervene, that they should at least be able to make written submissions to influence the process.
Company lawyers had hoped for even more, as they argued that the end of gaming operations at Trump Plaza had an immediate and direct impact on “Betfair Interactive’s ability to provide Internet gaming services in New Jersey.”
Ben-David accepted this argument. However, she also stated that there was nothing special about their relationship with Trump Plaza that made it different from the numerous other businesses that have partnerships or would otherwise be impacted by the closure. Ben-David also found that Betfair might want to get the casino to release funds the company believes it is due, but that the DGE isn’t the forum for that contract dispute.
Trump Plaza Said to be Uncooperative
The ruling comes after Betfair claimed that Trump Plaza’s management wasn’t cooperating with their efforts to manage the shutdown process.
“Betfair Interactive has made repeated written requests for information from Trump Plaza’s senior management on Trump Plaza’s plans for the casino, including once the closure was formally announced requesting in writing a face-to-face meeting with senior management in order to discuss the implications of the impending closure of the Trump Plaza on the internet gaming operation,” Betfair’s lawyers wrote in a letter to the DGE. “To date, Trump Plaza has failed to even respond to Betfair Interactive’s requests.”
So far, Betfair’s online gambling operations in partnership with the Trump Plaza have been a mixed bag. Through July, the company had brought in around $4.3 million in revenue through their online portals in New Jersey, which helped boost the firm’s overall US revenues. However, that was far below the market leaders in the state, and the company’s poker room has been a failure, bringing in a comical $49 so far in 2014.
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