GVC Holdings has completed its $ 1.6 billion acquisition of bwin.party, and also got good news in New Jersey where gambling regulators said PartyPoker can continue operating while GVC seeks a state gaming license.
The news comes after reports that the Borgata—which is the leader in online gaming in the state and partnered there with bwin—was worried about GVC’s licensing and considering finding a new online partner. The ruling by the state Division of Gaming Enforcement means the relationship between Borgata and PartyPoker in the state can continue for now.
The change in ownership of bwin could have created problems for the company’s operation in New Jersey as GVC must go through the state’s licensing process. Borgata representatives were reportedly looking for potential partners in case the DGE ordered bwin to close its business during the inquiry period. Prior to the bwin purchase, GVC (or predecessor companies) reportedly operated some U.S.-facing gambling sites that continued to accept wagers after the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006.
Under the agreement with the DGE, GVC executives are prohibited from having any communication or managerial control over bwin.party.
Borgata and bwin’s PartyPoker have been in a tight battle for the lead in New Jersey’s online poker market with the partnership between WSOP.com—through connection to Caesars Atlantic City Casino—and 888 Holdings. GVC beat out a competing bid from 888 to take over bwin.
The New Jersey market is also anticipating the arrival of PokerStars in the state, through its partnership with Resorts casino.
In New Jersey, online operators must partner with an Atlantic City brick-and-mortar casino. The DGE will now conduct a full licensing review of GVC.