Q&A: Pala Builds Momentum in New Jersey
Talk about sweetening the pot. Sign up to play at PalaCasino.com in New Jersey, and you get a chance to win a million bucks.
But that’s not all. PalaCasino.com’s million-dollar Free Daily Spin is open to all players in the state, not just when they sign up, but every single day they log into their account.
The online casino is operated by the Pala Band of Mission Indians based in Pala, California. In November 2014, the tribe partnered with Atlantic City’s market-leader, Borgata, to launch the site, which quickly became a player in the state’s increasingly competitive digital marketplace.
iGamingPlayer.com talked with Jim Ryan, CEO of Pala Interactive, about the action on PalaCasino.com, PalaBingoUSA.com, and the all-new PalaPoker.com, which debuted in April.
iGamingPlayer.com: Nothing beats the daily chance to win $1 million. What are the other perks of playing at PalaCasino.com?
Jim Ryan: We offer $30 in free play just to sign up (you don’t have to make a deposit), and when we launched PalaPoker.com in April, we increased that to $50. We also offer our players a 100 percent Match Deposit Bonus on their first deposit, all in addition to the Free Daily Spin.
Your site offers tons of games and titles. Which ones do people love best?
Ryan: We currently have 261 web games and 146 mobile games. We offer both internally owned and developed games as well as the most popular titles available online.
We recently launched our own Progressive Jackpot Slot called Jackpot Shores. We’re very proud of this beach-themed product, which features three different progressive jackpots and a Mega Jackpot carrying a prize over $100,000. Jackpot Shores, which is exclusive to PalaCasino.com in New Jersey, became our most popular and most-played slot machine within days of its launch.
So, how does a virtual bingo hall differ from the real thing? And what goes on in the casino chat rooms?
Ryan: We’re constantly looking to bring innovation to the New Jersey online gaming market, and that’s illustrated by our launch of PalaBingoUSA.com. An interesting parallel between your local bingo hall and our online bingo offering is the relationships that are forged playing the game. The popular chat feature allows players to connect and develop meaningful virtual friendships. Our friendly chat moderators are also active in the chat rooms to get the conversations going. They provide fun opportunities for players to play trivia and quiz games and win free Bingo Dollars.
What devices are people playing on most? Is there a time of day when the action is liveliest?
Ryan: Not surprisingly, we’re seeing a trend towards mobile, with more than 50 percent of our play from some type of mobile device. We’re constantly working to optimize the mobile experience for our players and work with content providers to bring as many games as possible to the mobile landscape.
Tell us more about PalaPoker.com.
Ryan: We have a management team with deep experience in building and operating successful online poker platforms, and we’ve spent the last three years building a new poker platform in preparation for state-based online gaming regulation.
Our platform is built on new, relevant, advanced technology that will allow us to improve and scale more rapidly than some of the competition. We’re looking forward to getting feedback on PalaPoker.com from New Jersey players.
Working together gives both Pala and Borgata an opportunity to cross-promote their land-based operations. But they’re on opposite sides of the continent. Is there any evidence of increased visitation at the bricks-and-mortar casinos because of this partnership?
Ryan: For Pala specifically we didn’t enter the New Jersey market with the expectation that we’d increase visitation at our California property. We launched in New Jersey to be prepared for the continuing regulation of the U.S. online gaming market.
For the New Jersey market in general, the expansion into online gaming has been a success for land-based operators. Online gaming has provided a much needed new source of revenue, and all indications show online gaming has created new gaming customers without cannibalizing the land-based experience.
Online real-money games have been slow to expand in the U.S., but people love to play online for fun. Do you offer anything more for them?
Ryan: We have a B2B white-label social casino product available for land-based casinos. Players have all-day entertainment with a full suite of table games, slots, video poker and no-limit hold’em along with viral and meta-game features such as 135 levels, unlocking games, gifting chips and puzzle games.
We also offer tournaments to add a unique competitive element to the overall experience. The objective of the platform is to drive players back to the land-based casino property by allowing them to connect their player loyalty card and earn rewards points that can be redeemed for incentives back on property.
Social casinos are a great way to extend a casino’s brand online, collect valuable data outside the casino walls, market to players when they’re engaged with your brand, drive them back to property and generate additional revenue through the sale of virtual currency. We recently rolled out this product with Pala Casino Resort and Spa. It’s called MyPalaCasino.com and we’ll be rolling it out for other partners soon.
Whether it’s online blackjack, slots, table games or video poker, PalaCasino.com delivers a fun interactive casino experience from the comfort of your own home. Think no one wins these things? Just last month, one woman—identified as Ellie from Linden, New Jersey, won twice: $42,325 playing the Drive slot game and almost $20,000 playing Mythic Maiden. And Jeanette of Howell, New Jersey, bagged more than $23,000 playing Cleopatra. For more information—and a chance to become an instant millionaire—visit PalaCasino.com.