Yo, New Jersey Online Gambling, How You Doin?
In the years leading up to its launch, regulated online gambling in New Jersey was touted as everything from the last, best hope for Atlantic City casinos; to the dawn of an igaming Silicon Valley on the Eastern Seaboard.
Now, a month after its official launch, Garden State online casino operators are putting theory into practice to find out if this grand experiment is going to work. So far, the results seem largely positive.
Here’s what we know about NJ online gambling after a month of live play.
No one expects perfection from day one when it comes to the Internet, but New Jersey’s online casino roll-out came pretty close. This relatively smooth launch was the result of some serious planning and foresight on the part of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement and its leader David Rebuck.
Redbuck and company brought in lots of experts, asked lots of questions, and generally became igaming experts as they neared last month’s launch. Coming in well prepared does not, however, completely ward off technical difficulties.
During the first few days of the launch, thousands of Jersey gamblers could not register, or log on, to the state’s seven legal gambling sites thanks to geolocation issues. According to some accounts, only about a quarter of the people who tried to log on in those early days actually met with any success.
Operators blamed software that was bouncing players who lived close to the state line; though many of the bounced players were in fact from out of state. Over the last month, however, geo-location issues have abated dramatically.
As of last week, over 91,000 registrations have been completed on the seven legal sites in New Jersey. This doesn’t necessarily mean that 91,000 individual players have registered because some of them may have logged on to multiple sites.
The fact that the state feels comfortable giving out a number at all seems to be a good sign. By comparison, getting a read on how many players are visiting Nevada’s legal poker sites is pretty difficult.
“The player pool is pretty thin,” is how Donnie Peters, editor-in-chief of PokerNews.com describes the situation in the Silver State but Jersey’s larger population makes for a much larger potential players pool.
Banking on Banks
One x-factor that’s dogged legal gambling sites in New Jersey, and Nevada, is a banking industry that hasn’t got the message that online gambling is now legal. Plenty of players have been unable to make deposits with regulated gambling sites because their banks won’t process the transaction.
What impact banking woes, and the absence of Paypal deposits, will have on the Jersey market are tough to assess this early in the game.
Technical troubles aside, New Jersey online gambling is off to a pretty good start. Whether it will be able to keep Atlantic City casinos in the black is a question that will be answered over the next year or so, but at this point, any revenue the long-suffering boardwalk casinos can generate from online players will qualify as good news.