70+ firms seek New Jersey online gambling; 2UP Gaming says casino sale done deal

2up-gaming-crandon-rebuck-atlantic-city-casinoIt’s been widely reported that Nov. 26 is New Jersey’s ‘go live’ date for its online gambling market, but last Friday saw New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) director David Rebuck (pictured, on the left) tell NJ Today’s Mike Schneider that the date in question was actually Nov. 23. Rebuck also reminded Schneider that the DGE has to give the industry confirmation of that deadline 45 days in advance or ask the state Casino Control Commission for an extension. Rebuck said both the DGE and the companies hoping to offer online gambling in New Jersey are “aggressively and feverishly” working toward making that Nov. 23 date.

In July, the DGE announced that 37 companies had officially filed paperwork to participate in New Jersey’s online gambling market, but Rebuck told Schneider that there were now “well over 70 new companies looking at coming into the state to engage in internet gaming.” One of those interested companies is Wynn Resorts, and while Rebuck said he’d yet to speak directly to company boss Steve Wynn on the subject, Rebuck had spoken to Wynn representatives who were “clearly interested” in joining New Jersey’s online party.

Another of those online hopefuls is UK-based 2UP Gaming PLC, which has been teasing the media since late July with vague statements about either buying or building an Atlantic City casino with the help of a $330m cash injection from an unnamed Asian sugar daddy. (This site has previously speculated that Genting are 2UP’s backers, but there’s as yet no evidence supporting this hunch.) 2UP’s stateside partner is project finance outfit MidOil USA, whose managing director Vincent Crandon (pictured right) now says that plans to build a new casino are “off the table” and that the partners are in the process of finalizing the purchase of an existing casino.

Crandon told the Press of Atlantic City that the parties had “agreed on the price and other conditions. I just need to get a final agreement done.” As tradition would have it, Crandon was maddeningly short on specifics, saying only that the casino in question was on the Boardwalk. The two casinos that have yet to announce a partnership with an online gambling company – Revel and the Atlantic Club – are both located on the Boardwalk. Casino Control Commission chairman Matthew Levinson confirmed that he’d met with Crandon, but that Crandon hadn’t clued him in as to which casino was allegedly changing hands.

As for when this veil of secrecy might be lifted, Crandon said the original plan to announce the deal’s completion by Labor Day was up in the air. Crandon claimed securing visas for the mystery Asian investors to take part in the final round of haggling was taking longer than expected. Crandon also revealed that the casino in question would be rebranded post-sale, but under what banner it would operate in future was – surprise – left unsaid.