US casino contract for Smurfit's gambling software firm
Published 23/07/2014 | 02:30
GameAccount Network, the gambling software firm headed by Dermot Smurfit Jnr, has signed a deal to provide a simulated gaming system to Pennsylvania's Parx Casino.
The agreement comes as Pennsylvania debates the introduction of legalised online gambling. New Jersey was the first US state to approve it last year. Nevada and Delaware also permit online gaming.
GameAccount Network has already signed other deals with casino operators in the US as they anticipate the continuing legalisation of online betting.
Parx Casino is owned by Greenwood Racing and the resort includes a racetrack. Parx has a 30pc share of the eastern Pennsylvania casino market, where there are five resorts.
There are a total of 12 casino properties in Pennsylvania.
Parx operates over 3,000 slot machines at its property, as well as 150 table games.
Between them, they generated $478m (€355m) in gaming revenues in the 12 months to the end of June.
Although Parx Casino is readying itself for online gaming, other casino operators in Pennsylvania have urged politicians not to sanction its legalisation.
At a US senate committee hearing last month, an executive of Las Vegas Sands casino group argued that online betting would steal customers from the company's resort in the state.
"We're looking at turning every house in Pennsylvania into a casino," claimed Andrew Abboud of Sands.
"Gaming was never expected to be everywhere."
Even the chairman of Parx Casino, Robert Green, has conceded online gaming would have an impact on traditional casinos.
"I don't think you can say with any authority that there is not an impact on bricks-and-mortar casinos," he said.
Parx Casino's own revenue from its poker room has fallen 20pc since New Jersey allowed online gambling last year.
There have been a number of bills proposed in Pennsylvania that would permit varying degrees of online gambling.
Investors in stockmarket-listed GameAccount include Mr Smurfit's father, Dermot Snr, as well as IIU, the investment vehicle owned by financier Dermot Desmond.