New Jersey Casinos ‘Inundated’ With Online Players in Test

New Jersey, which began testing online gambling last week, has been “inundated” with players trying to sign up, the state’s top gaming regulator said.

More than 10,000 people registered to gamble in the first three days starting Nov. 21, David Rebuck, director of the state’s Division of Gaming Enforcement, said on a conference call with reporters today.

Six casinos, including the Tropicana Atlantic City, the Trump Taj Mahal, the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa and two properties of Caesars Entertainment Corp. (CZR), have been approved to offer online wagers to residents and visitors starting at midnight tonight. They will operate under 13 websites, Rebuck said. New Jersey becomes the third and most-populous state to allow online gambling, joining Nevada and Delaware.

“We’re definitely very happy with the sign-ups,” Mitch Garber, chief executive officer of Caesars’ interactive division, said in a telephone interview. The results were especially encouraging given that operators hadn’t begun marketing yet and some would-be customers had trouble registering, he said.

People looking to register for play have had their credit cards rejected, Rebuck said. State officials are working with banks to let them know that Internet wagering is legal in the state, he said. There have also been complaints about people in New Jersey being denied access because casino software identified them as not being physically present in the state.

Rebuck said his office was in talks with companies that provide software to identify players’ locations to improve the systems. The state has set high standards for operators and intends to maintain them, he said.

“I’m unwilling to put the state at risk of having an easy access of out-of-staters breaking into our systems here,” Rebuck said.

Golden Nugget Atlantic City, a unit of Houston-based Landry’s Inc., has been restricted to limited play until it works out some technology issues, Rebuck said. The six approved operators may conduct business on a 24-hour basis.

Some 75 new companies have been authorized to operate online in the state, including payment processors and technology providers, Rebuck said. About 240 games have been approved.

Customer registrations have occurred throughout the state, although they are heavily concentrated in more populated regions, such as in the suburbs outside of New York and Philadelphia, he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Christopher Palmeri in Los Angeles at cpalmeri1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net

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