State Sen. Ray Lesniak wants players from other countries, states to place online bets in NJ
Online Poker Report

International Player Pools For NJ Online Poker? Planned Bill Would Pave The Way

NJ online poker player pools
A New Jersey state senator is looking to allow international and interstate player pools for online poker.

The development comes after the top NJ gaming regulator said efforts to pool liquidity with the UK came up short under current law and regulations.

NJ online poker and casino, across borders?

State Sen. Ray Lesniak, in speaking with the Associated Press, indicated he would be introducing legislation that would allow people outside of New Jersey to place bets in the state. Right now, both NJ online casinos and poker are purely conducted on an intrastate basis.

Lesniak’s planned bill would allow anyone in another regulated market to play online poker or casino games at a regulated NJ site.

More from the AP:

“I’ve changed my mission from making New Jersey the Silicon Valley of Internet gaming to the Mecca of Internet gaming,” Lesniak said. “Online gaming has helped Atlantic City to revive its casino sector with a success that we can expand in ways that will generate more revenue, create jobs and fuel technological innovation in gaming.”

The biggest stumbling block in current online gambling law is the requirement that operators have a server located in Atlantic City. Lesniak told the AP he plans to remove this requirement.

The biggest boost would be for NJ online poker

While allowing online casino users outside of the state could move the needle in the long term, the bigger impact of this bill, by far, would be for NJ online poker.

Right now, online poker in the state is limited by the population of the state. It has not compacted with either Nevada or Delaware, the two other states with legal online poker. (Those two states already share liquidity.) If operators were able to serve all three states simultaneously, it would increase prize pools and liquidity.

The bigger prizes, however, would be:

Online poker has unquestionably struggled in New Jersey — even with the addition of PokerStars last year– as online casino has posted solid growth since inception.

The NJ online casino business is still booming

Online gambling, as a whole, has seen about 30 percent year-on-year growth in recent months, showing the market is far from being done growing.

That has helped the bottom line of many NJ casino operators. The biggest winner of late has been Golden Nugget, which is generating $5 million in revenue a month.

And more sites have gone live just this summer. MGM launched its online casino this week. A site using the branding of the strip club chain Scores is also operational.

If Lesniak has his way, the NJ online gambling market won’t rest on its laurels. It will continue to eye new ways to grow and cement its place as a market leader, as other states around the US dawdle on passing iGaming legislation.

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Dustin Gouker
- Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner. He has played poker recreationally for his entire adult life and has written about poker since 2008.