Ultimate Gaming leaving New Jersey, citing contract breaches by Trump Taj Mahal casino

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ATLANTIC CITY, New Jersey — New Jersey's fledgling Internet gambling market lost its first provider Friday when Ultimate Gaming accused its partner, the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort, of multiple contract breaches and said it is pulling out of New Jersey.

Ultimate says it is owned $1.5 million by the casino's parent company and hasn't been paid in more than two months.

"We wish things would have turned out differently for us," said Marc Falcone, Ultimate's senior vice president. "Unfortunately, as they say in poker, we were not dealt a good hand."

Falcone said the company has not yet determined when it will cease its New Jersey operations, but he said that decision should be made fairly quickly. Ultimate is not accepting any new deposits, effective immediately, he said.

Ultimate was ranked last out of New Jersey's six Internet gambling operations, taking in $4.9 million from online customers so far this year. The market leader, Borgata and partypoker, have won $30 million online so far this year.

Trump Entertainment Resorts, the Taj Mahal's parent company, declined to comment on Ultimate's withdrawal. Trump Entertainment closed Trump Plaza on Tuesday and is threatening to shutter the Taj Mahal on Nov. 13 unless it wrests major concessions from its union.

Ultimate said customers seeking information about their accounts can go online at ucasino.com or ultimatepoker.com. Falcone would not say how much money the company has on deposit from New Jersey players.

"We are owed about $1.5 million from Trump Entertainment," Falcone said. "We in effect haven't been paid for more than two months. Money that the site generated and that we are owed, we were never given. It made it extremely difficult to operate under those circumstances."

Falcone left the door open to a return to New Jersey's Internet gambling market with a different partner in the future, but he said the company's immediate focus is on its Nevada online gambling operation.

The future of Trump Entertainment's other online partner, Betfair, appeared somewhat more promising. Betfair is the Internet gambling partner of Trump Plaza.

Earlier this month, New Jersey's top casino regulator said he would allow Betfair to continue operating in New Jersey up until the point where Trump Plaza surrendered its casino license — an event not expected to happen for several weeks. David Rebuck told The Associated Press that would give Betfair enough time to seek an alliance with a different New Jersey casino company, should it choose to do so. Kerry Langan, a spokeswoman for the division said Friday, "Betfair has indicated they would like to remain in New Jersey."

Betfair and Trump Plaza won just over $5 million from online gamblers so far this year.

Ultimate is based in Las Vegas and mostly owned by Station Casinos.

New Jersey legalized Internet gambling last November as a way to help its struggling casinos. But online gambling has not taken off the way industry and political leaders expected, bringing in less than $87 million so far this year. Initial estimates of New Jersey's online gambling market ranged to 10 times that figure.


Wayne Parry can be reached at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC

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