Below you’ll find comprehensive reviews of the major NJ online poker rooms along with answers to frequently asked questions about legal online poker in New Jersey. Learn more about NJ’s online casinos here.
Last updated: August 23, 2015
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Since, both upstart Ultimate Poker and hapless Betfair have gone the way of the dinosaur. Online casino powerhouses the Golden Nugget and Tropicana have seemingly abandoned their poker plans and newcomer Pala Interactive appears resigned to using its upcoming NJ online poker room as a testing ground for a possible launch in California.
And now that WSOP.com and 888 have pooled players at low stakes cash games and select tournaments, today’s market is smaller and more focused than the one that launched 19 months ago.
But the question remains – “Is it a better market?”
In some capacities, yes. But for the most part, NJ operators have failed to address their most critical maladies. Promotional schedules vary widely in quality from month to month. And of the business decisions that have been put into practice, most are received with mixed reactions by the community.
In turn, the remaining operations have failed to exhibit much in the way of growth, despite the consolidation of the market coming at a time when online poker activity is historically at its highest. Now that the seasonal downtrend has kicked in, liquidity is hovering right around its all-time low, and not even the best summer promotions will turn that around unless improvement is made in the areas of software and customer service.
WSOP.com: If I were forced to sum up my feelings toward WSOP NJ in one word, it would be: average. Nearly everything about the operation is at least serviceable, yet nothing stands out as truly extraordinary.
Recent cost cutting measures were supposed to be offset by a stronger promotional schedule, and to a degree they have. Yet individually, the promotions still come off as underwhelming. It’s also difficult to ignore the fact that most promos hold little appeal to recreational players … Read our full WSOP.com NJ review >>>
888 Poker NJ: 888’s liquidity sharing arrangement with WSOP was not an excuse for the former to take a long vacation, yet that’s the way it comes off. Since January, there have been a lack of notable promotions, an utter dearth of platform upgrades, and only nominal improvement in the area of customer service.
Right now, I have to wonder if WSOP.com would be better off on its own. I’m not there yet … Read the complete 888 NJ review >>>
PartyPokerNJ: From a relativistic standpoint, there aren’t too many negative things to say. The software is better, the representation is improved and there is increased value to be had by playing on the site.
However, outside of the promotions and maybe the mobile product, there isn’t a single aspect of the operation that is much improved. And that’s a problem when you’re conceded the cash game market share lead … Read our complete Party NJ / Borgata review >>>
While sites certainly have points in the day where they are more or less busy, and while a certain promotion or tournament may cause traffic at a particular room to spike temporarily, it’s best to look at rolling averages to understand which poker rooms are most consistently busy. At most recent check (August 2015) the 7-day average was 305 simultaneous players.
As it currently stands, here are the active online poker sites in New Jersey from most active to least active, with a general estimate of market share:
Click on the link of any room above for an in-depth analysis of the site’s traffic for cash games and tournaments.
In terms of the overall market size: You can track traffic at New Jersey online poker sites over at PokerScout.com.
Suffice it to say, traffic is substantial enough to guarantee a variety of low-to-mid-stakes games and a variety of MTTs and SNGs (also at the lower end of the buyin spectrum).
Right now the game of choice at most rooms is no limit holdem.
Remember, most of the software powering online poker sites in New Jersey is not new. In some cases, it’s been around for over a decade (888 and PartyPoker, for example). So these rooms all have the capability to add new games. It’s more a matter of whether or not there’s sufficient player interest to justify adding new games, especially when you start talking about more niche variants like HORSE or Badugi.
Highly likely. The current launch target is Q3 2015, a target confirmed by Amaya CEO David Baazov in May 2015. It is worth noting that Baazov did not address the issue in Amaya’s latest earnings call. NJ State Senator Ray Lesniak recently re-asserted his prediction that Stars’ licensure in the state is a matter of when, not if.
Once Amaya completed their purchase of PokerStars, there appeared to be a good chance that PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker would be available in New Jersey. The thinking was that the purchase would remove the executives and associations that had caused concern for NJ regulators.
New Jersey law does not contain a so-called “bad actors” clause, so the decision about whether to allow PokerStars in is left completely up to regulators. And regulators initially appeared to be bullish on PokerStars’ chances post-Amaya purchase.
With that said, PokerStars’ approval to offer online poker in NJ is taking longer than anticipated. Here’s an article covering the various theories behind that delay.
Read a comprehensive list of answers to questions about PokerStars in New Jersey here, a preview of PokerStars NJ and a preview of Full Tilt Poker NJ.
One thing we don’t know for sure is whether Full Tilt will be introduced to the NJ market, which is already quite crowded, especially on the poker side. Indications have been that Full Tilt will be part of Amaya’s approach in New Jersey, but it remains to be seen how that will actually manifest in a practical sense.
PokerStars hasn’t indicated one way or the other at this point, so any answer to this question is speculation.
On one hand, it makes sense for PokerStars to introduce Spin N Goes to New Jersey because they offer PokerStars a way to differentiate from other online poker sites. The format has proven incredibly popular in the international market, and there’s little reason to believe that popularity wouldn’t translate (at least to some degree) in the NJ online poker market.
On the other hand, Spin N Goes require liquidity to work. If you don’t have a lot of players in the pool, then the amount of available tournaments shrinks to a point where a typical player may not be able to find the stakes they want at any given time in the lobby. And the players who are playing Spin N Goes will be, at least in some cases, drawn off from other sections of the lobby, such as cash games or MTTs. Fewer players in those lobbies will similarly restrict the supply of available games for potential players – something Stars definitely wants to avoid.
In terms of dedicated apps, players have the following choices:
Google does not allow any real-money gambling apps in the Google Play Store.
Therefore, you’ll need to visit the site for a given poker room using your Android phone or tablet in order to download the app.
Available Android apps for NJ online poker:
Here’s a quick comparison of the Android apps of Party / Borgata and WSOP / 888:
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Click on any link below to be taken to the iTunes page for the app mentioned.
PartyPoker and Borgata also offer a Java-based browser version of their software that may work on some devices.
For regular updates on new mobile apps and other developments in New Jersey, bookmark our NJ news section.
Yes. If you are located within New Jersey, you can play real-money poker and casino games at a variety of regulated sites. The official list of legal NJ online casinos and poker rooms is located here.
You do not need to be a resident of New Jersey to play at the state’s regulated online poker sites. You only need to be located within the state to play for real money.
You can access your account from anywhere in the United States. You can also deposit and cash out from anywhere. But you must be located within the borders of New Jersey (as verified by the site’s geolocation software) in order to play for real money.
As of the last update to this FAQ, there were three networks offering online poker in New Jersey:
As of January 12, 2015, WSOP and 888 share some – but not all – of their respective player pools. So a more accurate, albeit more confusion, description of the number of networks in NJ online poker would be 2.5 rather than 3.
You can read reviews of all three networks by clicking on the links above.
PokerStars is expected to operate as a standalone network upon launch, bringing the number of networks to 4.
Note: Ultimate Poker was active in NJ but closed in September of 2014. Betfair (in partnership with Trump Plaza) technically had a poker site, but traffic at said site was non-existent and the room was formally shuttered in november of 2014.
Yes. But how many rooms there will ultimately be in NJ remains something of an open question:
The performance of the state to date suggests that New Jersey is capable of supporting one or two distinct online poker networks over the long run.
Remember, when NJ started offering legal online poker, there were five distinct networks: Party / Borgata, WSOP, 888, Ultimate and Betfair.
A year later that number is down to (effectively) two networks.
Here’s an older, but still relevant, piece from OPR that looks at state population levels and what those levels suggest for said state’s ability to support online poker rooms.
In New Jersey, only land-based casinos qualify for online gambling permits (called Internet Gaming Permits by NJ regulators). But regulations also allow those casinos to partner with technology providers, who must also be vetted and licensed (albeit at a lower level of licensing) to take part in New Jersey’s regulated online gambling market.
Each Internet Gaming Permit – the license received by a land-based casino like The Borgata – can be used to operate up to five websites. And each website can be a distinct brand.
So, in the case of the Borgata, their IGP is being used to power the following sites:
And each site is powered by the bwin.party poker and casino software. In addition, the PartyPoker online poker site and the Borgata online poker site both feed into the same central player pool.
This question has, unfortunately, already been somewhat answered by the DGE. The online casino must find a new new land-based partner, but is given a grace period within which to do so.
When Trump Plaza announced plans to close, it was the first Atlantic City casino with an Internet Gaming Permit to shut down. Trump Plaza has a partnership with Betfair that allows Betfair to operate an online casino in NJ.
The NJ DGE subsequently announced that Betfair could continue to operate online in NJ after the Plaza closes, contingent upon a few basic requirements. And Betfair then successfully located a new partner with the Golden Nugget Casino. But in the absence of a new partner, it seems that Betfair would have had to eventually close up shop in New Jersey.
Ultimate Poker closed in September 2014 after its business relationship with Trump Taj Mahal reportedly went south. Get more details on the closing of Ultimate Poker / UCasino. Ultimate subsequently ceased operations in Nevada in early November.
There’s been a lot of ambiguity surrounding the legality of online gambling in the United States. NJ sites are the first of a wave of legal, regulated online gambling options.
Regulated online gambling was made legal by a bill that Gov. Chris Christie signed into law back in February of 2013.
In order to offer online poker or online casino games in New Jersey, sites must have the approval of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.
Any other site that offers such games for real money to residents of New Jersey is in violation of state law.
Sites approved by the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement. The official list is here.
You can review NJ’s online gambling regulations in full here.
New Jersey regulators have a simple process for handling customer-operator disputes arising from regulated online gambling:
The DGE will help you to properly file a dispute form if you have any questions. Contact them (609) 984-0909 / firstname.lastname@example.org.
But remember, you must attempt to resolve the issue with the operator first.
You can self-exclude from NJ’s online poker rooms and casinos via a simple online form. A few important notes about self-exclusion from online gambling sites in New Jersey:
People choose to self-exclude from gambling sites for a number of reasons, many of which have nothing to do with problem gambling.
However, if you think you have an issue with gambling addiction, we encourage you to visit the National Council on Problem Gambling for additional information and resources.
Same as the land-based casino age: You must be 21 to play at NJ’s regulated online poker sites and casinos.
Anyone of age who can be confirmed by a given site as being located within the state can play online poker in New Jersey. You do not need to be a resident of New Jersey.
Yes. Right now the player pools are made up only of people in New Jersey.
No, you can just visit one of the websites approved by the DGE.
No. Delaware and Nevada recently connected, but players in NJ are playing against other players in NJ only.
It is expected that some US states will at some point combine their player pools for online poker and casino gaming, much in the same way that several states pool lottery prize pools across a coalition of states (Powerball, for example).
But compacts are a complex affair and there are any number of factors slowing their development. So there’s no firm timeline or blueprint for how states like New Jersey will come to share player pools with other states offering regulated online gambling.
With that said, there are reason to be hopeful about New Jersey’s long-term chances for entering into liquidity-sharing agreements with other jurisdictions.
First, NJ DGE Director David Rebuck has mentioned on several occasions that his office has engaged in advanced conversations with regulators from the UK over the issue of sharing player pools.
Second, New Jersey has aspirations to serve as a regulatory hub for other states that are looking to regulate online gambling. In fact, Director Rebuck aggressively promoted those aspirations at the East Coast Gaming Congress in May 2015, saying “If you partner with New Jersey, I can guarantee you, you can be up and operating in anywhere from 90 to 120 days, and you can set whatever tax rate you want.”
A quick overview of ways to deposit and cashout at NJ online poker sites follows below.
Methods vary by site. Credit cards, echecks, ACH deposits prepaid cards and deposits at the casino cage are options offered by various NJ online poker sites.
The most reliable method, and also one of the fastest, is ACH (bank transfer).
Yes, VISA deposits currently have what are generally regarded as the lowest acceptance rates for online poker deposits in New Jersey. Even though these deposits are perfectly legal, several of VISA’s issuing banks have decided to hold off on accepting such transactions for now.
One alternative is to use your VISA to fund an ewallet such as Neteller, and then to fund your player account using Neteller.
VISA acceptance rates are expected to improve in 2015 when the company rolls out new merchant category codes designed specifically for regulated online gambling.
Yes. MasterCard acceptance rates are much higher than VISA and are easily the highest of any credit card. American Express does not allow gambling-related transactions.
No. American Express generally doesn’t allow gambling-related transactions regardless of legality, and the NJ online poker market is no exception.
Not at this point. PayPal stopped accepting US gambling transactions several years ago and has yet to update their policies to reflect the new reality of regulated online gambling in the United States.
With that said, PayPal is reportedly set to return to the NJ market sometime in 2015.
For a number of reasons, but the short answer is that many banks and companies like PayPal are waiting to see how regulated online gambling works out before jumping in. They’re concerned about possible unanticipated liabilities and weighing those against the revenue potential of regulated online gambling.
Once the amount of money involved grows and the uncertainty recedes, depositing at one of NJ’s online poker rooms will become an easier thing to do.
The introduction of new MCCs for processing regulated online gambling transactions in April 2015 should improve the situation, but only to an incremental degree in the short term.
The answer to that question will vary by player. For a starting point for determining the best NJ online poker site, refer to our grades for NJ’s active rooms below:
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|888 NJ||C+||C||C||C||C||Play now|
|Party NJ||C||B+||C-||D||C||Play now|
The number of online poker sites in New Jersey is small enough that the question of which site is the “best” site becomes somewhat moot. Unlike the international market, where there are dozens of sites, NJ is home to only four unique online poker rooms.
That means players can realistically give all of NJ’s online poker rooms a fair trial and determine for themselves which is superior.
In most cases, players will derive the greatest benefit from playing at multiple (if not all of) NJ’s online poker rooms in order to maximize promotional and bonus value.
The bulk of the promotional value available to online poker players in New Jersey comes via the opening bonuses offered by all rooms in the state’s market.
New player bonuses come in two forums: no deposit bonuses, where players are given some amount of free money to try out the room, and deposit bonuses, where the poker site matches an amount deposited by the player with some sort of bonus funds the player can then convert into real money via further play.
We’ve broken down the bonuses available for online poker NJ players:
Sites are required by regulations to demonstrate both that they can provide a secure gameplay environment and that they can securely store your personal information.
New Jersey’s regulated online poker rooms are subject to strict and regular oversight. If you have any suspicions, you can file a complaint with New Jersey regulators directly.
Sites are required to verify player identity by regulations, both to ensure you’re eligible to create an account and also for tax reporting purposes.
If you are playing at one of the approved, licensed sites in New Jersey then you should feel comfortable providing this information.
Sites need it in order to verify your identity, ensuring that accounts are only being created and used by those of legal age to gamble online (21).
Legal online poker in New Jersey currently generates between $2mm – $3mm in revenue a month. Read a more complete breakdown (including casino revenue) at our NJ online gambling revenue tracker.
The tax rate for legal online gambling in NJ is 15% of revenue, with an additional 3% re-investment tax applied for operators.
Online gambling as a whole has generated nearly $30mm in tax revenue for NJ since being launched in November 2013. Poker has accounted for something around 20% of the total revenue in New Jersey, and therefore roughly 20% of all taxes generated by legal internet gambling to date.
NJ’s online operators don’t break out poker and casino in terms of profitability – only in terms of revenue. And no companies that I’m aware of have been willing to provide a detailed breakdown of their profit and loss so far in the regulated market for online gambling in NJ.
Borgata did indicate that they were realizing a profit from their online arm during a November 2014 earnings call and reiterated that position in their call covering the 1st quarter of 2015, although it is unclear how much of that revenue (or profit) came from online poker as opposed to online casino.
Every indication from land-based casino operators in New Jersey has been that online gambling supports their land-based products. Representatives from Caesars and the Borgata have said that the vast majority of online customers were new to their respective brands, suggesting that online is bringing a new kind of customer to Atlantic City’s casino operators.
These anecdotal reports provide support for recent research from UNLV that concludes the regulation of online gambling represents a net positive for land-based casinos and the companies that run them.
Generally speaking, anyone who promotes New Jersey’s regulated online gambling sites must be registered with the Division of Gaming Enforcement. If you are working on a flat-fee or CPA basis, you only need to acquire a Vendor number, which is a relatively simple process. If you are planning on working on a revenue share basis with regulated online casino sites and poker sites in NJ, then you’ll need an ASCIE, which is a more involved license.
In any case, affiliates interested in the NJ online gambling market will need to make a choice between promoting regulated sites and promoting offshore US-facing sites. Recent updates to the regulations governing NJ online gambling require affiliates to cease promoting unregulated US-facing poker sites and casinos as part of the requirement for approval to promote NJ’s regulated sites like WSOP and Golden Nugget online casino.