Pala Expanding New Jersey Footprint With BetGenius Partnership — What’s Next?

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Mention “Pala” in the U.S. gaming industry, and the first thing that comes to mind is the Native American casino in Southern California.

And if that state ever gets going on gaming expansion, it stands to reason that the Pala Band of Mission Indians will be major players.

But Pala hasn’t waited for that — and now it is going one step further in New Jersey, where Pala Interactive was created in 2013 as the state joined Delaware in offering online casino gaming.

BetGenius comes aboard

Pala has just partnered with BetGenius, a provider of data-driven software, to boost its customer acquisition strategies.

“BetGenius delivers a unique blend of digital marketing expertise along with a keen understanding of the online gaming market,” Pala Interactive Chief Marketing Officer Jeremy Clemons said in a statement.

BetGenius executive Josh Linforth said that “our strong inventory, unique creative capabilities, and lower-funnel acquisition tactics will help them scale their online presence and drive revenues in New Jersey.”

Pala Interactive launched the PalaCasino.com brand in the fall of 2014 and added PalaBingoUSA.com in the spring of 2016. PalaPoker.com launched preliminarily in mid-2017, and completed its full launch in December. Pala Casino offers access to more than 250 online casino games.

Pala and Borgata — together again?

So Pala already has a triple threat of online gambling angles — might the brass try to make it a quadruple threat? Pala’s online casino gaming and poker platforms come via a deal with Borgata, which just happened to be the first Atlantic City casino to offer sports betting in June and the first to offer mobile sports betting earlier this month.

Each casino can feature up to three “skins” for mobile sports betting, and Pala would seem a fitting partner for Borgata once again — perhaps even moreso with the newfound partnership with BetGenius.

The deal with BetGenius may help Pala with brand awareness, something it has in California but less so anywhere else. California seemed on the verge of legalizing online poker years ago, which presumably was a big factor in Pala’s foray into developing a website and online infrastructure. If online gaming regulation does come to California, Pala will have a leg up on rivals due to its experience in New Jersey.

Pala’s online poker site in New Jersey is “stand-alone” — so there’s no sharing of players like others affiliated with Borgata (BorgataPoker, PlayMGM, and PartyPoker).

Pala has been hurt by the surprisingly stagnant online gaming expansion efforts; New Jersey and Delaware were expected to cause a rush to the starting gate, especially elsewhere in the northeast. Pennsylvania finally broke the logjam last year, but rollout of online gaming there has been sluggish. Still, Pala will have to weigh to what extent it wants to become a player in “The Keystone State” as well.

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John Brennan

John Brennan has covered NJ and NY sports business and gaming since 2002 and was a Pulitzer Prize Finalist in 2008, while reporting for The Bergen County Record.

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