GVC Approved by New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement

GVC, the new owner of bwin.party entertainment, was approved last week to do business in New Jersey. This was a crucial point because Borgata uses the bwin.party platform for its online casino and poker, room. But will Borgata stick with GVC? That has yet to be seen.

Earlier this week the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement signed off on GVC Holdings, allowing the company to continue to offer online casino games and online poker with their partner casino, Borgata.

In a press release, GVC announced the New Jersey DGE had, “issued an order concluding its preliminary investigation of GVC in connection with its acquisition of bwin.party digital entertainment PLC (“bwin.party”).”

In the same press release, GVC CEO Kenneth Alexander stated:

“I am delighted the DGE has confirmed that GVC meets its stringent regulatory requirements and that bwin.party can continue to operate in New Jersey under its current licences. This is an important development for GVC and one that places the enlarged group in a strong position should further regulated opportunities in the U.S. arise. GVC has licences in over 14 countries and continues to seek further licences in markets as the regulatory framework evolves.”

Meet The New Boss

GVC’s request for licensure came about following the company’s $1.7 billion acquisition of bwin.party in September of 2015. bwin.party is Borgata’s online gaming partner in the state of New Jersey, and the sale of bwin.party to GVC complicated this relationship (more on this in a moment) and required the DGE to ascertain the suitability of the new owners.

Following the vetting process performed by the DGE, bwin.party’s current New Jersey license was more or less transferred to GVC Holdings. In a press release GVC explained how this process took place:

“As part of its preliminary investigation, DGE examined GVC’s business operations and concluded, GVC and its individual qualifiers possess the requisite good character, honesty, and integrity should it file for a transactional waiver.” DGE determined that the New Jersey licenses held by bwin.party shall remain valid under GVC’s ownership and a transactional waiver is not needed in connection with existing New Jersey contracts. Additionally, DGE ordered the termination of the Monitoring Agreement under which bwin.party had been operating since the acquisition by GVC.”

Is GVC Long For New Jersey?

Despite the approval, there is continued speculation Borgata will eventually look elsewhere for an online gaming partner.

If a change is made, the most likely choice being Pala Interactive, as the interactive division of the eponymously named California tribe is already operating online casino and bingo games under Borgata’s license, and has an online poker product ready to go. These rumors have gained more steam now that Pala Interactive’s online gaming sites have been gaining market share in New Jersey according to source with knowledge of the situation.

However, the combination of Borgata and bwin.party have been the market leaders in New Jersey from the get go, and even with the introduction of PokerStars in March, its online poker sites, BorgataPoker.com and NJ.PartyPoker.com have maintained a solid market share.

So long as GVC shows a level of commitment to the U.S. market, and as long as their products remain competitive, Borgata may be content with the status quo. Switching to Pala, particularly a new and untested online poker product could cripple what market share Borgata’s online poker sites currently possess. If the new platform has glitches, or is found wanting, most of the remaining players will likely find their way to PokerStars and WSOP.com.