In a conference call with analysts from major investment firms, European iGaming provider Playtech’s chief executive officer Mor Weizer confirmed that the company has applied for a casino service industry license in New Jersey.
The earnings call for the second quarter of 2018 included Weizer, Playtech’s chairman Alan Jackson, fellow executives, and analysts from firms like Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, and UBS.
Weizer told investment analysts that the gaming license application in New Jersey – which legalized online casino and poker in 2013, followed by sports betting earlier this year – would be primarily focused on Playtech’s proprietary sportsbook technology:
“As has been widely reported, we are in the process of acquiring a license in New Jersey, and this is progressing well.
Playtech BGT Sports (PBS) is currently the leading provider of Self Service Betting Terminals (SSBTs) in Europe and has approximately 40,000 retail terminals in place globally. Regulation in the U.S. will not be straightforward and will evolve over time on a state-by-state basis.
PBS scalable technology affords Playtech a strategic advantage in the young developing market.”
Playtech’s earnings call largely focused on the company’s Asian interests, but the New Jersey license application represents the Isle of Man-based firm’s first foray into the American market since an ill-fated attempt to secure a license in Nevada.
The Silver State also legalized online poker in 2013, but state gaming regulators weren’t amenable to a proposed Playtech / William Hill partnership in Nevada. The issue stemmed from the company’s controversial founder Teddy Sagi, who served time in prison during the 1990s for various tax evasion and fraud convictions.
But despite Playtech’s lack of access to American sports bettors, it maintains a licensee agreement with Caliente, the largest government-licensed online sportsbook in Mexico.
During the recent conference call, Weizer alluded to the benefits provided by operating Caliente, which connects Mexican bettors to the major American professional and collegiate sports:
“In terms of the opportunity in the U.S., the capabilities of PBS position Playtech with a compelling offering.
Playtech sportsbook is ready now and is already one of the largest traders in U.S. sports due to our activity in Mexico, whose most popular markets are U.S. sport markets, as well as PBS’ unique retail sports betting solution for SSBTs and over-the-counter activities.”
Back in 2013, with New Jersey’s legalization of online casino and poker sites making headlines, Weizer spoke with eGaming Review about Playtech’s aspiration for the Garden State:
“If you ask me whether we can benefit from New Jersey regulation I’d say yes.
New Jersey presents a new incremental revenue stream for the company.
Yes, we’d be disappointed if we didn’t get something signed there.”
At the time, Playtech’s 10 percent stake in the Sportech pari-mutuel betting platform operating in the U.S. was viewed as an obvious entry point for the company’s New Jersey ambitions.
That optimistic outlook didn’t pan out though, as Playtech sold its Sportech shares just three months after Weizer made his prediction.
When news of the sale broke, Playtech issued a statement which seemed to dismiss New Jersey and other U.S. state markets:
“We are a global business. The U.S is not an open market.
The reality is there is a lot of uncertainty about the U.S.
It is opening state by state and there may not be as much business as people think.”
Five years later, with sports betting legalization having opened the window for a second time, Playtech is now ready to embrace the business opportunities in New Jersey.