When talking about online casinos with the best chances of a Garden State launch, LeoVegas seemed like one of the frontrunners for a 2023 debut.
However, if LeoVegas online casino is indeed on its way to New Jersey, the operator needs to secure a new market access agreement. The Swedish company, which is now owned by MGM Resorts International, did have a partnership with Caesars Entertainment. This is no longer the case.
In the latest New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) rulings, one pertains to “Request of LeoVegas NJ, LLC for Withdrawal of its Initial Application for a Casino Service Industry Enterprise License.”
So does this mean MGM is preparing to move the LeoVegas brand to the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa license? Maybe LeoVegas will strictly remain a European brand?
We take a closer look at the DGE ruling and speculate what LeoVegas’ next move could be as it relates to the NJ gambling market.
More details of application withdrawal
If you take a closer look at the LeoVegas DGE ruling that Executive Director David Rebuck signed Dec. 6, the timing coincides with when MGM made its offer. The document references an email sent to the DGE May 31, 2022.
According to the document, attorneys representing LeoVegas emailed the DGE in late May regarding its NJ online market access agreement. More specifically, the words “terminated its online market access agreement with its New Jersey casino partner” are used.
MGM announced its $607-million bid for LeoVegas in early May. MGM has since completed the LeoVegas purchase.
For now, LeoVegas is watching from the NJ online casino sidelines as the initial application is ordered “withdrawn.”
When will LeoVegas NJ online casino launch?
LeoVegas Casino originally planned a “first half of 2022” launch. Clearly, that didn’t happen.
And at this point, 2023 seems like a stretch as the ruling includes the following condition:
“It is further ORDERED, pursuant to N.J.A.C. 13:69A-8.6(a), that LeoVegas shall not be eligible to apply to the Division for any license, registration, or other approval until the expiration of one year from the date of this Order.”
That date would be Dec. 6, 2023.
As far as a new market access deal goes, there is no doubt LeoVegas would debut under the Borgata license as a result of the MGM connection.
The license holder currently leads the NJ online casino market thanks to the strength of its BetMGM and Borgata online casino brands. Borgata reported $44.3 million in November NJ online casino revenue while the grand total was $146.2 million. For the year, Borgata and its online partners have earned a market-leading $452.6 million.