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Gaming group bwin.party granted New Jersey online licence

LONDON (Reuters) - Online gaming group bwin.party Digital Entertainment has been given permission to start offering gambling in New Jersey, the third and potentially most lucrative U.S. state to allow internet betting.

The company, which applied for a licence in July, said on Friday that it has been awarded a transactional waiver by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement pending the granting of a full licence.

"This transactional waiver means that bwin.party is now eligible to participate in the online gaming market in New Jersey, which is expected to open on 26 November 2013," the company said in a statement after the London market had closed.

The group said it would launch poker and casino games under the land-based casino licence of its partner in New Jersey, Borgata Casino, owned by Boyd Gaming Corp's and MGM Resorts, using both Borgata's and its own brands, including www.partypoker.com.

New Jersey follows Nevada and Delaware in legalizing online gambling. It is considered the most lucrative casino market based on size and because its law encompasses many forms of gambling, while Nevada's regulations only allow online poker.

Two of the founders of bwin.party Digital Entertainment struck a deal with the state's gaming authorities last month to sell their stakes rather then apply for individual licenses, a condition for major shareholders in gaming groups in New Jersey.

(Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by David Goodman)