Online Poker Report

New Jersey Regulators Approve Full Online Gambling Launch

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After concluding a multi-day “soft play” period with relatively few incidents of note, New Jersey regulators have decided to go ahead with the full launch of regulated online gambling in the state.

Six casinos have been issued approvals by the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement to continue with full play.

The Golden Nugget remains in the testing stage.

As a result, the open market for regulated online gambling in NJ is effectively open as of now

That announcement came from the DGE’s David Rebuck on a conference call at 3pm EST on November 25th.

Casinos approved to offer online gambling in New Jersey

All of the casinos that took part in the soft launch were issued permits to offer unrestricted online gambling – except for the Golden Nugget.

Rebuck made it clear that he expects the Golden Nugget to be approved eventually, saying it was simply “a matter of time.”

That leaves the following casinos (and their affiliated properties):

  • The Borgata.
  • Caesars.
  • Bally’s
  • Trump Plaza
  • Trump Taj Mahal.
  • Tropicana.

Official list is available at the DGE here.

We also have an early review of all available sites (in their soft-play state) that you can read here.

Will soft launch problems continue?

The soft launch of online gambling in New Jersey was riddled with problems, with the two most common complaints from players being an inability to deposit and faulty geo-location technology that blocked them from playing even though they were located well within New Jersey’s borders.

Will those problems continue now that online gambling is open to the general public in New Jersey?

The answer is almost certainly yes. The real question is the degree to which casinos and regulators will be able to mitigate those core issues.

Banking issues largely out of NJ’s control

The difficulty players have been experiencing depositing is not something that regulators and casinos have much direct control over. At the heart of the problem is the unwillingness of some banks (and companies like PayPal) to process deposits for online gambling – even clearly legal, regulated online gambling.

Casinos will need to take a two-pronged approach on this issue, both pressuring banks to change their policies and coming up with alternatives for consumers (and educating consumers on how to use those alternative deposit options).

Geotargeting should improve – but how much remains a question

Casinos can exercise a greater degree of control over the geo-location tools that are used to determine whether a player is located in NJ.

The consensus opinion is that casinos were being aggressive – perhaps overly so – in their attempts to keep unauthorized players out during the soft launch period, and that as that aggression is dialed back, the number of false positives identified by geo-location tools  will decrease.

But even if that ends up being the case, it’s still a given that at least some players in NJ will be locked out of regulated online gambling sites. And casinos could decide that – at least in the early days of the market – there’s more to gain from a cautious approach than a liberal one when it comes to geo-location.

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Chris Grove
- Chris is the publisher of OnlinePokerReport.com. Grove also serves as a consultant to various stakeholders in the regulated market for online gambling in the United States.