- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 5, 2014

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) - New Jersey gambling regulators have approved a California Indian tribe’s request to offer Internet gambling in conjunction with Atlantic City’s top casino.

The state’s Gaming Enforcement Division has authorized Pala Interactive to team with the Borgata to offer online gambling in New Jersey.

The Pala Band of Mission Indians will be the first Indian tribe to engage in online gambling in New Jersey. The enforcement division signed an order approving the arrangement last Friday.

“Hopefully we’re going to surprise and delight and build some meaningful market share in New Jersey,” said Jim Ryan, the company’s CEO. He formerly ran the bwin.party online gambling company with which the Borgata already is partnered for online gambling in New Jersey.

The tribe runs the land-based Pala Casino and Spa in San Diego County, California, and wanted to expand its brand onto the Internet, Ryan said.



The Pala will use one of the Borgata’s online gambling licenses. Their palacasino.com web site should go live in the second half of November or early December following a 5-day state mandated testing period. In early 2015 its palapoker.com site will go live.

Pala, like other New Jersey Internet gambling providers, can only take bets from customers within New Jersey’s borders.

The Pala site should be active within two weeks, but will be separate from the Borgata and party poker brands that the Borgata already offers.

The tribe founded Pala Interactive about a year and a half ago, and originally hoped to be ready for an expected approval of Internet gambling in California.

“The California market is one we are focused on,” Ryan said. “We began building this product in the hopes that there would be (a regulated Internet gambling market) In California.”

He said submitting to New Jersey’s famously strict gambling regulations “will give us regulatory credibility” that the company would be able to bring to other states in the future.

The tribe’s entrance into the New Jersey market should come about a week before the anniversary of online gambling in New Jersey. It began in November 2013 as a way to help the struggling brick-and-mortar casinos generate more revenue.

So far, though, it has generated only about a tenth of the $1 billion that state officials originally forecast for its first year.

In another Internet gambling event, the Gaming Enforcement Division fined Caesars Interactive $10,000 for sending promotional materials to 250 people who had voluntarily excluded themselves from Internet gambling in New Jersey between February and May.

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Wayne Parry can be reached at https://twitter.com/WayneParryAC

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