Pala Interactive, a tribal gaming company owned by the Pala band of Mission Indians based out of California has announced that they are launching a new poker brand, PalaPoker.com that will be made available for residents of the state of New Jersey. It will find the same licensing as their casino site under Borgata Casino’s interactive gaming license but will not share any of the poker liquidity with the other Borgata brands. PalaPoker.com will function as a standalone site and will be available for both desktop and mobile use. The new platform is currently in open beta testing.
PalaPoker provides some expansion to the range of options currently available to New Jersey poker players through state licensed poker sites and legally sanctioned offshore poker rooms that welcome players from New Jersey. While the state regulated Internet gambling initiatives have been unable to compete very well with the offshore destinations and their deep pockets, it is still beneficial to the state to see their domestic poker gambling entertainment industry grow and hopefully receive a financial boost as well.
The company has noted that they have spent the past three years preparing for a release of their poker brand despite the CEO of the company, Jim Ryan telling CalvinAyre.com’s Rebecca Liggero in an interview in 2015 that the poker brand was essentially “ready to go”. That confusion can be defined in some respect with the reasons why they may have waited to release their brand. One of those reasons was a proposed California bill that created hype around the possibility of the state legalizing online gambling. The California based Pala Interactive was seeking to wait for California to possibly open up the door for legal online gambling so they could start it off in their home state. Since then, however, the California legislation has gone nowhere fast and Pala Interactive became complacent in waiting and has decided to release it in New Jersey where they can find the legal regulation they require.
Another reason they were waiting was the announced release of Amaya Gaming’s PokerStars brand in New Jersey. They intended to watch and see how the release favored the brand and unfortunately the PokerStars brand hasn’t taken off in the New Jersey market base just yet. That can be due to a number of things but mostly because of how regulated online gambling still remains in the United States. The online casinos and poker rooms that are legally sanctioned in New Jersey can only be patronized by residents of New Jersey and Delaware because they have an interstate gambling pact signed into law. This means that the customer base is so low that they haven’t really been able to hold a strong command on the profits in which they could possibly receive. On top of this, the legally regulated offshore brands have had decades of capitalistic competition to benefit from and have left the state sites severely lacking.
Despite the less-than-stellar performance by Amaya Gaming’s PokerStars brand, Pala Interactive has decided to go ahead and launch their brand into New Jersey in hopes that California will soon legalize and regulate state based online gambling. Jim Ryan has intimated that the release in New Jersey has properly moderated expectations and has noted that it will be more about improving the brand through experience driven adjustments to work out the kinks before they are able to launch in California. Ryan expects the brand to be more of a “meaningful participant” in California if the legislators can finally get it right.