This Thursday, New Jersey’s first wave of iGaming operators will open their virtual doors to a select group of invitees – at least for a few hours – during the state’s so-called “soft launch” period for online gambling.
In a statement given to the Press of Atlantic City, NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement spokeswoman Lisa Spengler revealed that during the first two days of testing (November 21st and 22nd), NJ’s regulated gaming sites will only be operational from the hours of 6 p.m. and 2 a.m., local time.
However, when the servers reopen at 8 a.m. on the 23rd they will remain up until the conclusion of the trial at midnight on the 25th – pending unexpected developments.
Throughout the critical trial period, online providers will be tasked with testing their player identification systems, payment processors, geolocation technology and otherwise ensuring that their software works as expected.
If all goes according to plan, the DGE will allow full-scale operations to inaugurate on the 26th.
DGE Director David Rebuck explained the purpose of the soft launch as follows: “The soft opening will be used to demonstrate to the division that all systems perform as required under the stress of live gaming and that operational and revenue reporting controls are effective.”
Should problems arise, the soft launch period may be extended beyond November 25th, thus delaying the public launch of NJ’s iGaming market.
Last week, seven of Atlantic City’s 12 casino received transactional waivers, clearing them to initiate Internet gaming operations on the 21st (but not guaranteeing that they will). They are:
Two of Caesars Entertainment’s land-based casinos, Showboat and Harrah’s, have yet to receive waivers, as have Resorts and their online partner PokerStars.
Several factors are lining up that could dampen interest in NJ’s newly-christened iGaming market: