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SugarHouse Casino owner launches online gambling in N.J.

The majority owner of SugarHouse Casino has launched an online gambling site,, in New Jersey, the company said Thursday.

To provide service for online customers, which have to be in New Jersey to gamble on the site, Rush Street opened an office in Cherry Hill, the company said. Five people work there now, with more to be added as the business grows.

With its location not far from the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, SugarHouse, fresh off a $164 million expansion, already gets some customers from New Jersey. "We think that there's an opportunity to get even more customers from New Jersey," Rush Street Gaming chief executive Greg Carlin said.

Carlin said he has heard from casino operators in New Jersey, where online gambling started in November 2013, that "online has actually complemented their bricks-and-mortar business and helped them grow that business, not detract from it, because a lot of the players online are players that don't currently go to those  casinos."

Much of the gain was at Resorts Digital, which added PokerStars to its roster of sites in March.

By launching now, Rush Street can start building its brand for a time when Pennsylvania opens the gate to internet gambling.

As part of state budget negotiations this year, Pennsylvania lawmakers considered it, but didn't quite get there.

Carlin said he is cautiously optimistic that it will happen. "We think it makes sense from a revenue standpoint and growing your customer base. It's hard to predict the legislature and what the legislature is going to do."