New Jersey iGaming Adding Two New Players with Ocean Resort and Hard Rock Acquisitions

Fresh from posting record-setting revenue totals in 2017, the regulated online gambling industry in New Jersey is set to add a pair of new operators this year.

Earlier this month, news broke that Atlantic City’s failed Revel / TEN AC casino had finally been sold, following its closure in late 2014. The boardwalk property was acquired by Denver-based real estate developer Bruce Deifik in a $200 million deal. Deifik established AC Ocean Walk LLC to operate the newly named Ocean Resort Casino, which is slated to open this summer.

Only weeks later, a British firm known as GAN – which specializes in software development and backend management for iGaming platforms – released its year-end financial report. Per that report, GAN has already signed on to steer Ocean Resort Casino’s eventual online gambling products:

“In H2 2017, GAN signed a multi-year agreement with AC Ocean Walk LLC which will be GAN’s second client for real money Regulated Gaming in New Jersey.”

The report also described the planned GAN / Ocean Resort Casino iGaming platform:

“… A real money regulated gaming online experience offering internet casino gaming together with internet sports betting integrated with the on-property rewards program in reliance on GAN’s Patent.”

The GAN patent covers a proprietary system designed to link a land-based casino’s rewards program to an affiliated iGaming network. Station Casinos, Turning Stone, and WinStar World are among the dozen American clients currently maintained by GAN.

According to a recent Associated Press (AP) report, a spokeswoman for the New Jersey Department of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) has confirmed that AC Ocean Walk LLC has applied for an interactive gaming license.

Partnering with GAN should put Ocean Resort Casino on the inside track to securing such a license, as the U.K. firm currently powers the Betfair iGaming platform licensed by the Golden Nugget AC.

GAN also provided software for a planned Revel / TEN AC social gaming network, despite previous owner Glenn Straub’s disinterest in the local iGaming industry. Not coincidentally, Revel / TEN AC was shuttered just one year into New Jersey’s experiment with regulated iGaming, an experiment which generated $245 million in revenue last year alone.

In public comments made shortly after acquiring the property, Deifik alluded both to Revel / TEN AC lacking an online presence, and the economic revival iGaming has sparked in Atlantic City:

“We are incredibly excited that we were able to take advantage of the opportunity to acquire this tremendous property at a time when Atlantic City is seeing great economic strides.

The former Revel property opened at a time when Atlantic City was still in economic recovery, and operationally it just did not cater to the customer base for this destination.”

Currently, five casino ownership groups – Borgata, Caesars Interactive, Golden Nugget, Resorts, and Tropicana – operate the 23 licensed iGaming sites serving New Jersey.

That number will likely grow by at least two this year, as Ocean Resort Casino is expected to be joined by Hard Rock International.

The global casino and entertainment conglomerate purchased the defunct Trump Taj Mahal casino for $50 million in May of last year. An ambitious renovation project valued at $375 million was immediately undertaken, and Atlantic City’s new Hard Rock Casino is set to open this summer.

Although the company has yet to release any official announcements regarding an online casino, an NJDGE spokesperson has confirmed Hard Rock’s application for an interactive gaming license.

Further evidence can be found on the LinkedIn page of Lee Terfloth, who previously headed up the iGaming platforms for Borgata and Resorts. As of December, Terfloth lists his current position as Director of Online Gaming Products at Hard Rock Atlantic City.