MGM Resorts Looks To Re-Enter New Jersey In Possible Internet Gaming Move
Firm Wants State Regulators To Reinstate Its License
In the wake of last week’s historic decision by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, at least one major player has apparently repositioned their chips to get in on the future action.
Is MGM Resorts International now eying a piece of the New Jersey online gambling market?
The company announced Monday that it has filed a petition with the New Jersey Casino Control Commission to reapply for a brick-and-mortar gaming license in the state.
MGM lost its licensee status in Atlantic City after regulators found Pansy Ho, one of the firm’s business partners in Macau, to be unsuitable due to concerns over her father’s alleged links to organized crime. New Jersey regulators have a history of being stricter than those in other states, as MGM does business across the United States.
The company said that since the adverse 2010 finding it has “taken a controlling interest in MGM Macau’s parent company MGM China Holdings and that MGM China Holdings is now listed on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong.” Ho’s stake has since been reduced and her influence diminished, according to reporting by The Wall Street Journal.
“MGM Resorts International is, and always has been, committed to the highest standards of operation and regulatory compliance,” MGM said in a statement. “If our petition is successful we would welcome the opportunity to once again be an active, contributing member of the New Jersey gaming marketplace through our 50-percent ownership of Borgata.”
Before being kicked out, MGM had planned for a new casino there — dubbed “MGM Grand Atlantic City” — but that project fell through after the licensing difficulties.
The company would need a brick-and-mortar casino license in order to run an online casino. MGM is already licensed for online gaming in Nevada and would offer its new Internet product through a partnership with Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment — owner of PartyPoker.
MGM’s move could create a battleground for Bwin and PokerStars, which is in the process of acquiring The Atlantic Club Casino Hotel in order to eventually offer online poker from New Jersey. Web games are to be restricted to New Jersey residents, but would eventually be available to those in other jurisdictions where the activity is also licensed and regulated.
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