Amaya, the owner of online poker room PokerStars, has signed a content distribution deal with Swedish game developer NetEnt. The agreement means NetEnt will be the first content provider of both mobile and desktop games for PokerStars NJ.
PokerStars opens for business in New Jersey on March 21. The deal between the two companies isn’t very surprising considering NetEnt provides content to many Amaya subsidiaries in Europe.
NetEnt content is currently provided to multiple NJ online casinos through a New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement transactional waiver. NetEnt has contracts with Borgata, Golden Nugget, Resorts Casino, Tropicana, Virgin, and Caesars.
In NetEnt’s announcement, Björn Krantz, Managing Director of NetEnt Americas, spoke positively about the new business relationship between the two companies:
“I am very pleased that we have been able to extend our successful partnership with Amaya’s extremely popular gaming brand PokerStars to also include the regulated online casino market in New Jersey.
PokerStars is one of the biggest online gaming powerhouses in the world, and the agreement is yet more proof of the trust and confidence that exist in NetEnt’s operational and portfolio capabilities. I am confident that PokerStars’ US player community will enjoy the enhanced player experience offered through our game portfolio.”
Online gambling proving easier to manage than land-based casinos
Since the legalization of New Jersey online gambling in 2013, operators have worked hard to show online gambling in a positive light. The industry has done an excellent job keeping its record blemish-free, thus making it difficult for opponents to criticize it.
Perhaps the biggest criticism from anti-gambling advocates before the industry launched was that it would be impossible to prevent underage gambling from happening online. However, there have been no reported instances of underage play since NJ’s online gambling legalization.
The same can’t be said of live casinos. Somewhat ironically, iGaming opponent Sheldon Adelson’s Sands Casino in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania was just fined $36,000 for an underage gambler violation in January 2016.
This incident at Sands wasn’t the first time the casino has encountered this particular problem – it has been fined multiple times for underage gambling violations.
Are opinions on RAWA changing?
Rumors have been circulating recently that Adelson may have had a change of heart on regulated online gambling within the United States. The change might mean that Sands’ crusade to pass the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA) may be put on hold, at least for now.
Andy Abboud, VP of Government Relations for Las Vegas Sands, hinted about his company’s stance in an interview with Gambling Compliance (paywall):
“We haven’t backed off of our focus on [RAWA], but we need to find a way … to be able to shut down illegal offshore operators.”
Although Sands isn’t completely changing its position on RAWA, it is certainly changing its focus. It seems the growing popularity of online gambling has made Adelson refocus on an actual problem – unregulated offshore gambling.
The regulated online gambling industry in the U.S. can breathe a sigh of relief that a multi-billionaire will be spending a bit less cash (or perhaps none at all) on attempts to shut down their businesses. The industry will no doubt be watching Mr. Adelson’s actions closely in case he has yet another change of heart.