Californian Indian Tribe Launches Online Casino In New Jersey

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Californian Indian Tribe Launches Online Casino In New Jersey

Last week, the Pala Band of Mission Indians successfully launched its online gambling site in New Jersey, and in the process became the first Native Indian tribe to offer real money iGaming in the US. Earlier this month, another Native American tribe, the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel, had launched a real money online bingo site in California, but the legality of is currently being disputed by the state, and a federal lawsuit has now been filed against the Santa Ysabel tribe in the US District Court for the Southern District of California.

Currently In Beta-testing Phase

As required by New Jersey state law, the Pala Band of Mission Indians has teamed up with a local land-based casino in order to obtain a license and offer its gaming website. In this case, its partner is the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa, one of Atlantic City’s premier gambling venues accounting for more than 40% of the gaming revenue in the state.

While the tribe is still awaiting full approval of its license from the state Department of Gaming Enforcement (DGE), is currently in the middle of a five-day beta-testing period. However, the partnership expects the full launch to take place by November 24th, after which it will become available to the general public in New Jersey.

Pala Indian’s Gaming Interests

The Pala Band of Mission Indians is a federally recognized tribe from California, where they operate the $217 million Pala Casino Resort and Spa, a huge gambling venue complete with 2,000 slots, and 87 table games, as well as 10 restaurants and a 500 roomed hotel complex. In the past, the tribe had also expressed the desire to run its own online casino, and in the absence of a regulatory framework in its own state, has now turned to New Jersey to make its aim a reality.

Can Pala Compete In Crowded Market

The Pala Band of Mission Indians will be entering the most crowded online gambling market in the United States, where most of their competitors have already been operating for almost a year. The launch of is also set to coincide with the one year anniversary of regulated online gambling in New Jersey, which thus far has generated around $111 million in revenues, a mere tenth of analysts’ initial predictions.

However, whilst online poker revenues have disappointed, they represent a mere fifth of overall revenues, with many New Jersey casinos having reaped greater rewards by offering online gambling games, such as roulette and blackjack. In fact, all of the Garden State’s online casinos are currently generating sizable amount of revenue from their online casino games, including late arrivals such as the Golden Nugget and

Also in the tribes’ favour is the fact online casino players are not generally known for their loyalty to particular sites, and will often seek out the best bonuses and promotions on offer. Therefore, the Pala tribe should be able to wrestle away some market share fairly easily providing they have attractive software, and offer enticing promotions in the market.

Phil Ivey’s Endorsement

In 2013, the Pala tribe signed a deal with WSOP legend Phil Ivey to become the brand ambassador of Pala Interactive, as they sought to prepare the ground ahead of regulated online poker in California.  Currently on the back burner, online poker regulation is set to be debated once again next year in California, and in the meanwhile Pala is also planning on launching an online poker site in New Jersey by early-2015, which could act as a testing ground for when the tribe does eventually launch its online poker brand in the Golden state.

Following announcement of the tribes imminent launch in New Jersey, the 10-times WSOP bracelet winner tweeted the following message:

“Congrats to @PalaCasinOnline for going live in my home state of New Jersey. Great site. Check it out at”

In spite of his endorsement, however, it is likely that Ivey is no longer the tribe’s brand ambassador as he is currently in a legal case against the Pala’s current partner, Borgata, which has accused him of exploiting card defects at its Baccarat table to win from them $9.6 million. Only last month, Phil Ivey lost a similar court case against the Crockfords Club Casino in London, who subsequently didn’t have to pay him the $7.7 million he won at its punto banco tables.

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