Tribal gaming operator Pala Interactive has added a poker product to its New Jersey online gambling operations.
On Tuesday, Pala Interactive announced the launch of PalaPoker.com for both desktop and mobile poker players residing in the state of New Jersey. The poker site, which is currently in open beta testing, follows the 2014 launch of Pala’s New Jersey online casino and the 2016 launch of PalaBingoUSA.com.
Like its casino site, PalaPoker will operate under the Borgata casino’s interactive gaming license, but Pala won’t be sharing poker liquidity with the other sites on the Borgata network, opting instead to operate as a standalone site.
Pala Interactive, majority owned by California’s Pala Band of Mission Indians, is headed by ex-PartyGaming CEO Jim Ryan. In 2015, Ryan told CalvinAyre.com’s Rebecca Liggero that the site’s poker product was basically “ready to go” but the company now says it’s spent the past three years “building a new poker platform.”
In 2015, Ryan said the company had decided to hold off its New Jersey poker launch due to concerns over the market’s liquidity, particularly in anticipation of the imminent New Jersey launch of Amaya Gaming’s PokerStars brand.
At the time, expectations were mounting that legislators in Pala’s home state were on the cusp of authorizing their own online poker market, and Ryan suggested a New Jersey online poker launch would be more about optimizing Pala’s product to ensure the kinks were worked out before launching in California, where Ryan expected Pala to be a more “meaningful participant.”
But with California’s legislative efforts going nowhere fast, Pala has apparently decided there’s little to lose in backing their poker product out of the garage and taking it for a spin around the block. Ryan expressed hope that other states, including Illinois, New York and Pennsylvania, “may regulate online gambling and specifically online poker in the foreseeable future.”
The company likely doesn’t have much in the way of revenue expectations, given that even the mighty PokerStars has proven unable to grow New Jersey’s stagnant poker market. Ryan said Pala was simply happy to provide “another option to those in the market for a poker platform” and the company hopes to be having talks with potential B2B partners in the near future.