Pala will launch online poker in NJ this year – Ryan

Pala will launch online poker in NJ this year – Ryan

Tuesday, March 10, 2015 Totally Gaming

Pala Interactive chief executive Jim Ryan has dismissed claims that the company has cancelled plans to launch online poker in New Jersey.

The head of the California-based tribal gaming operator told TotallyGaming.com that while its poker offering has been delayed, it still plans to enter the east coast state’s market by the end of the year.

Reports emerged late last week that Pala had decided to avoid New Jersey due to the likely entry of PokerStars into the market in the near future. However, while Ryan concedes that they will monitor PokerStars’ launch, Pala’s main concern seems to be waiting until it has established its name in New Jersey before adding online poker to its existing casino offering.

Ryan told TotallyGaming.com: “We are excited to have a successful launch of our casino product in New Jersey and now we are focusing on building our brand presence and database in that market prior to launching palapoker.com.

“Pala Interactive has recently indicated in an interview that it would be delaying its launch of PalaPoker.com in New Jersey until it had more clarity on the launch of PokerStars.com in the state.

“However, Pala will be launching its poker network in the state of New Jersey later in 2015. The exact time will be dependent on the launch of PokerStars.

“Pala Interactive took this decision because the small size of the New Jersey online poker market of approximately $25m (€23m) per annum.”

Pala became the first Native American tribe to offer online gambling in the US when it launched its online casino in November 2014. Pala linked up with Atlantic City’s Borgata Hotel to offer online casino gaming, with the bricks-and-mortar licensee posting online gaming win of $3.79m in January 2015.

Pala already has experience in operating a large land-based casino in San Diego, California, and it is the US’s most populous state that could prove to be the company’s big focus for 2015 with four bills to legalise online poker having been proposed by lawmakers already this year.

Ryan told TotallyGaming.com: “Pala remains focused on securing online poker legislation in California in 2015. We believe that there is a desire amongst tribal constituents to pass online poker legislation.

“Gaps remain between the various interested parties on several of the provisions in proposed legislation.

“These gaps will need to be closed or resolved in order for the successful passage of California online poker legislation to be realised in 2015, although Pala believes that all of these matters can be resolved with the fullness of time.”

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