Wynn Interactive withdraws application for Internet gambling license in latest retreat from NJ

Industries Associated Press

Casino mogul Steve Wynn is passing on Atlantic City, again.

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In the decades since he left the Jersey shore for the more prosperous sands of Las Vegas, the casino mogul has repeatedly considered a return to Atlantic City, only to decide against it.

The latest retreat comes as Wynn Interactive has withdrawn a license application to conduct Internet gambling in New Jersey. The state Division of Gaming Enforcement allowed the company to withdraw its application for a casino service industry enterprise license earlier this month.

Wynn Interactive took preliminary steps in July 2013 to enter New Jersey's Internet gambling market — but later warned it might still change its mind about the whole thing. Steve Wynn said later that Internet gambling "is not a good entrepreneurial opportunity."

The company would have partnered with Caesars Interactive to offer Internet gambling in New Jersey.

In a Sept. 2 letter to the gaming enforcement division, a lawyer for Wynn wrote that "at this time, Wynn does not wish to proceed with its application." The division allowed it to withdraw the application two days later.

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Wynn officials did not respond to numerous requests for comment Monday and Tuesday.

Wynn, who once owned Atlantic City's original Golden Nugget casino, has flirted repeatedly with a return to Atlantic City. Within a few years of opening the Golden Nugget in 1980, it was the top-earning casino in Atlantic City.

He later sold it and returned to the Las Vegas market. His former casino here was most recently known as the Atlantic Club. It closed in January 2014, having been bought in a bankruptcy sale by Tropicana Entertainment and Caesars Entertainment and dismantled.

His company had expressed interest in the possibility of a development at the former Bader Field airport complex in 2008, but like many others who did so, it ultimately decided against it, and the site remains undeveloped.

Internet gambling began in New Jersey in Nov. 2013. After a slow start, it has been showing gradual improvement.

It took in $122 million in 2014, and for the first eight months of this year, it has brought in $96.7 million, an increase of 15.6 percent over the same period a year ago.

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