(Reuters) - All 12 Atlantic City casinos took the first step to secure Internet gaming permits ahead of a Sunday deadline set by New Jersey regulators, who are preparing for a projected November start to statewide online poker and other gaming.
Borgata, co-owned by Boyd Gaming and MGM Resorts, and Caesars Entertainment were among the casino operators who notified state regulators of their plans to partner with an Internet gaming provider, according to Lisa Spengler, a spokeswoman for New Jersey's Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE).
The notifications were a requirement for companies who want to begin Internet gaming as soon as it goes live in the state. Regulators have said the earliest online gaming will start in New Jersey is November 23 but it could be pushed into 2014.
"For applicants that meet this filing deadline, the Division will be in a position to determine if they can commence Internet gaming operations by the go-live date," Spengler said.
New Jersey in February became the third state after Nevada and Delaware to legalize online gambling. Big casinos see New Jersey as the most lucrative opportunity based on its size and the fact its law encompasses many forms of gambling beyond, for example, Nevada's online poker-only bill.
Analysts project Nevada's online gambling market will yield $50 million to $250 million in annual revenue, while New Jersey is pegged to generate $500 million to $1 billion yearly.
Other operators that applied to offer online gaming include the Tropicana Casino and Resort, sold in a bankruptcy sale to a group of creditors led by Carl Icahn in 2009, and The Golden Nugget, owned by Landry's Inc.
Licensure to offer Web gaming will be limited to New Jersey's 12 land-based casinos, which are partnering with online gaming companies.
The Trump Taj Mahal casino signed an agreement with Las Vegas-based Ultimate Gaming to bring Internet gambling to New Jersey, the companies said on Monday. Ultimate Gaming launched online poker in Nevada in April.
Other casinos have partnered with overseas companies. Gibralter-based Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment teamed up with Atlantic City's Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa. Four Atlantic City casinos owned by Caesars Entertainment paired with European online gaming operator 888 Holdings Plc.
(Reporting by Susan Zeidler and Lisa Richwine; Editing by Tim Dobbyn and Jeremy Laurence)