One of the casino industry’s biggest names appears eager to participate in New Jersey’s emerging Internet gambling market, even though he labeled Atlantic City as “the enemy” only seven months ago.
Las Vegas gambling mogul Steve Wynn’s Wynn Interactive LLC becomes the latest outfit hoping to grab a piece of the action when Internet gambling is scheduled to begin Nov. 26 on Atlantic City slot machines and table games.
Dozens of companies have filed applications with the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement for Internet gambling licenses. The division has declined to name them until they are approved and added to a list of active vendors, but several online gambling companies have already announced their partnerships with Atlantic City casinos.
Details about Wynn Interactive’s plans for New Jersey remain a mystery at this point.
Wynn spokeswoman Deanna Pettit-Irestone declined to comment “at this preliminary stage.”
Lisa Spengler, a spokeswoman for the Division of Gaming Enforcement, said Wynn Interactive’s petition for a casino service license is considered confidential and would not be released.
In a related matter, the division has granted the company’s request to seal the organizational structure of Wynn Interactive. The organizational chart and executive salaries at parent company Wynn Resorts have also been ordered sealed from public view, according to a document posted on the division’s website.
Wynn Resorts oversees Steve Wynn’s casino empire on the Las Vegas Strip and in the Chinese gambling enclave of Macau. The company owns Wynn Las Vegas and the Encore resort on the Strip and Wynn Macau.
Steve Wynn has longtime ties to Atlantic City but currently has no casino operations in the resort. His company has not announced any Internet gambling partnerships with an Atlantic City casino, suggesting that he is searching for a local tie-in now that Wynn Interactive has filed for a New Jersey license. Among Atlantic City’s 12 casino hotels, only Revel Casino-Hotel and the Atlantic Club Casino Hotel have yet to reveal their Internet gambling partners.
In the 1980s, Wynn was part of the development of Atlantic City’s then-nascent casino industry. At that time, he owned the old Golden Nugget casino, now known as the Atlantic Club. Wynn’s 1987 sale of the Golden Nugget for $440 million was a springboard for his move to Las Vegas, where he has become one of the casino industry’s most famous figures.
Hoping to expand his gambling portfolio, Wynn is competing for a license to build the second casino in Philadelphia. While making a pitch for the project in February before the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, Wynn characterized Atlantic City, Philadelphia’s main gambling rival, as “the enemy.”
Over the years, Wynn has tantalized Atlantic City with proposed casino projects that were never built. He had plans to develop a Las Vegas-style casino in the Marina District in the late 1990s, but that project died when he sold his former company, Mirage Resorts Inc.
Wynn also spoke of building “Wynn Atlantic City” in 2007 if he had been given control of Bader Field, the 140-acre former municipal airport site. That proposal quickly fizzled out when the city’s efforts to sell Bader Field failed.
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