The US gambling environment is among the most complex ones when it comes to applicable laws and regulations. There is a range of various restrictions on the federal level and each state is authorized to develop its own set of regulations as long as they don’t go against the federal gaming laws.
The Interstate Wire Act of 1961 was passed mainly for the purpose of fighting organized crime but at the same time it prevented American citizens from gambling via the internet.
The US Department of Justice has clarified the Act in 2011, stating that “interstate transmissions of wire communications that do not relate to a sporting event or contest fall outside the reach of the Wire Act.”
The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006 was a pretty serious attempt to outlaw online betting. While it didn’t forbid US players to make real money deposits and place bets via the internet, it did prohibit operators to accept their cash and made it illegal for banks to process gambling-related payments.
Consequently, numerous offshore gaming sites stopped admitting US customers. Nowadays, different states apply different regulations.
Some went as far as to declare online gambling illegal in all its forms, and some have outlawed internet betting not regulated by the state.
The state of New Jersey took a while to legalize online gambling but, unlike some of the others, it has addressed both poker and casino games and a while later did the same with online sports betting.
Gambling Laws in New Jersey
The New Jersey Senate Bill No. 490, passed in January 2011, made online gambling legal as long as players were at least 21 years of age and physically located within the state’s borders.
Though Governor Christie vetoed the first version of this Bill, it was later revised and passed in February 2013. The respective law legalizes online casino and poker gambling for both the state residents and visitors, with GPS software making sure that players gambling via computers and mobile devices are indeed located in New Jersey.
The law limits casino gaming to Atlantic City and requires that computer servers used for offering online gaming services are placed in licensed AC casinos.
Legislation passed in 2012 was the first attempt to also legalize sports betting, but following a lawsuit filed by major sporting leagues, the US District Court Judge ruled that sports betting services can’t be offered legally. The state then appealed and in May 2018 got the Supreme Court to rule in its favor. Gov. Phil Murphy signed the ruling into law a month later and the first legal sports bets were placed during the following days. New Jersey thus became the first US state to allow legal online sports betting and DraftKings the first provider to launch a legal online sports betting platform in the country.
In the state of New Jersey, both land-based and online gambling is overseen by the Casino Control Commission which consists of three members appointed by the state governor. One of them is also responsible for overseeing the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, a body which uses mandatory contributions from state casinos to fund projects benefiting the public good. The Division of Gaming Enforcement is yet another regulatory body responsible for investigating potential licensees and watching over Atlantic City casino operators in order to spot and address violations concerning the gaming equipment, game rules, advertising, IT systems, underage gambling, and more.
Before a game can be made available to the general public, DGE’s Technical Services Bureau inspects it and verifies that advertised odds are accurate and game is fair. Potential service providers undergo a demanding investigation which includes an in-depth examination of the executives’ past. A so-called soft launch has to take place before a site is open to public, during which DGE representatives make sure the operator is following all regulations.
New Jersey casinos pay 15% percent tax on their gross gaming revenue plus the above mentioned mandatory contribution, which is considered a relative bargain when compared to the neighboring states. Still, loosening of the gambling laws and regulations will doubtlessly have a significant impact on the state’s economy and Governor Christie has made bold predictions concerning the size of additional revenue New Jersey will consequently generate.
Legal Online Casinos in New Jersey
Residents of New Jersey can now play online poker and casino games with real money completely legally on state-sanctioned sites. Games are tested by the Division of Gaming Enforcement which guarantees they are fair and operate correctly.
New Jersey law prescribes that internet gaming “will take place entirely on the servers and computer equipment located in the casino based in Atlantic City”.
According to its provisions, “no organization or commercial enterprise, other than a casino located in Atlantic City or its Internet gaming affiliate that has been issued a permit to conduct Internet gaming and has located all of its equipment used to conduct internet gaming in Atlantic City, shall make its premises available for placing wagers at casinos using the internet or advertise that its premises may be used for such purpose”.
Legit gaming sites must therefore form partnerships with physical gambling venues located in Atlantic City. The state’s official website provides a list of those approved to conduct 24-hour internet gaming operations.
Borgata Casino, Borgata Poker, Party Casino, Party Poker, Pala Casino, Pala Poker, Pala Bingo USA, PlayMGM Casino, PlayMGM Poker and Score Casino have been made available to New Jersey players through a partnership with Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa. This land-based establishment, opened in 2003, features a 161,000-square-foot casino floor with close to 3,500 slot machines and more than 250 table games playing poker, blackjack, roulette, baccarat, Pai Gow tiles and Sic Bo.
Daily poker tournaments take place in Borgata’s Poker Room, the largest one Atlantic City has to offer. Partner sites are authorized to conduct internet gaming in the state of New Jersey under a license issued to Marina District Development Company by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.
Caesar’s Casino, Harrah’s Casino, WSOP, 888 Casino and 888 Poker have likewise partnered up with Caesars, Golden Nugget Casino, Betfair and Play SugarHouse with Golden Nugget, Hard Rock Casino with Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Ocean Online Casino with Ocean Resort Casino, Resorts Casino, Mohegan Sun Casino, PokerStars, and Draft Kings with Resorts Casino, and Tropicana Casino and Virgin Casino with Tropicana Casino & Resort.
These gaming sites feature top-quality slots, RNG table games and video pokers developed by renowned companies such as NetEnt, NextGen, IGT, WMS, Lightning Box, Bally and Pragmatic Play. One can practice in free-play mode and then switch to real money play to hopefully start generating profits.
Legal Poker Sites in New Jersey
New Jersey poker fans are among the luckiest in the United States, with a number of state-sanctioned online poker rooms to pick from – Borgata Poker, Party Poker, Pala Poker, PlayMGM Poker, WSOP, 888 Poker and PokerStars.
Borgata Poker offers an opportunity to play Five Card Draw, Omaha, Omaha Hi/Lo, Seven Card Stud, Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo, and Texas Hold’Em. The Casino hosts numerous online poker tournaments starting at a specific day and time, allowing players to buy in directly or win their entry tickets through satellites with lower value buy-ins.
They can alternatively join a Sit & Go game whenever the mood strikes them and start playing as soon as there are enough players to fill the table. Cash Games allow poker enthusiasts to join a game whenever they want and play with no end goal other than to win.
Party Poker features scheduled tournaments able to attract over 1,000 entrants during major festivals such as POWERFEST, Monster Series and the KO Series. Fastforward is a cash game with quick-fire format which allows players to play thousands of hands per hour. They won’t be playing at one fixed table and won’t have to wait until it’s their turn to fold; hitting the “forward fold” button instantly presents them with a fresh set of cards at a new table. One can sit at up to four No Limit Hold’em or Pot Limit Omaha fastforward tables simultaneously and place bets starting at $0.02/$0.05 and going up to $2/$5. Party Poker also features Cash Games with no start or end times, Sit & Go tournaments, and three-handed SPINS Sit & Go games allowing one to win up to $1 million in a matter of minutes.
At Pala Poker, fans can play classics such as Texas Hold’em, Omaha and 7-Card Stud, participate in multi-table and Sit & Go tournaments, and play Cash Games with various buy-in levels. Texas Hold’em, Omaha, Omaha Hi/Lo, Seven Card Stud and Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo can also be played at PlayMGM Poker, with players able to choose between cash games and tournaments. WSOP is America’s largest legal online poker room with a variety of No-Limit Hold’em, Omaha and Stud Cash Games. The Casino organizes daily tournaments and special events, enabling players to compete in the series of online championships with hundreds of thousands of dollars in guaranteed prize money plus a chance to win an exclusive WSOP.com Champions Ring.
888 Poker hosts an array of different poker games including Texas Hold’em, Omaha, Omaha Hi/Lo, Seven Card Stud, SNAP, BLAST, and Pick’em. SNAP is a fast-fold poker format, BLAST is an exciting Sit & Go game with a randomly drawn prize pool, and Pick’em8 a high-speed game with no direct opponents. PokerStars feature an incredible choice which consists of Texas Hold’em, Omaha, Omaha Hi/Lo, 5 Card Omaha, 5 Card Omaha Hi/Lo, Courchevel, Stud, Razz, Five Card Draw, 2-7 Single and Triple Draw, HORSE, 8-game mix, and Badugi.
It may be interesting to know that, when PokerStars initially applied for a NJ gaming license, they were denied it because the company founder has previously been indicted for allowing the Casino to accept bets from US players after the UIGEA was passed. Remember, we said that prior to obtaining a NJ license, the past of the operator’s executives is closely scrutinized. Problem was solved in 2014 with PokerStars being acquired by Amaya Gaming and subsequent removal of Mr Scheinberg from the company. Once this dubious character was out, PokerStars got its license and in 2016 once again started serving American players through a partnership established with Resorts.
Live Dealer Games Available to NJ Players
As of 2016, New Jersey residents can also play popular casino games hosted by live dealers. Golden Nugget and Betfair were the first to offer live games powered by Ezugi and broadcasted from the Golden Nugget’s land-based casino in Atlantic City.
In 2018, Borgata partnered up with the leading live gaming provider, Evolution Gaming, and along with its affiliated sites made the experience available 24/7.
One can nowadays play Live Blackjack games with popular side bets – Perfect Pairs and 21+3, Live Roulette is available as both the European and American variant, Live Baccarat plays as a classic game, No Commission and Dragon Bonus, and there is a choice of Live Poker games which includes Casino Hold’em, Three Card Poker and Ultimate Texas Hold’em.
An authentic land-based experience is available to online players at Golden Nugget, Party Casino, PlayMGM, 888 Casino, Betfair, Hard Rock Casino, Resorts Casino and Mohegan Sun Casino. Players can access tables via their computers as well as mobile devices.
Online casinos licensed by New Jersey authorities support a number of payment options favored by local players. The list normally includes Visa and MasterCard credit and debit cards, Skrill, Neteller, PayPal, PayNearMe and Bank Transfer, as well as an option to collect in person at the partnering brick-and-mortar casino.
Visa and MasterCard feature super-high security levels and present a convenient option owing to the fact they’re frequently used for online purchases of various other products and services. Since most players own one of these cards already, there’s no need to apply for the service and open additional accounts. Having made a withdrawal, users can instantly claim their cash via a number of ATMs found in their immediate surroundings.
EWallets such as Skrill, Neteller and PayPal are simple to use, they are normally the fastest cash-out option, and the fact that no sensitive information has to be shared with the operator makes them highly secure. Skrill and Neteller are frequently featured among funding options but PayPal is not always available – unless one is playing at a legit NJ casino.
PayNearMe is a reliable, mobile-first payment platform which enables players to conveniently fund their online gaming accounts with cash at local stores such as 7-Eleven, Family Dollar and ACE Cash Express. There are 20,000+ payment locations nationwide. Another important benefit is that there’s no need to link one’s gaming activity to credit cards.
Because legit online gaming operators are required to have a land-based partner in New Jersey, players can enjoy a rare benefit of personal deposits and withdrawals; all they need to do is visit the cashier in person and provide details of their accounts. Having verified account information and provided the requisite ID, they can enter the amount they wish to deposit and the cage representative will validate their transaction request and transfer funds.
Legal Landscape vs Illegal & Offshore USA Online Gambling
Though NJ players can perform their gambling activities at a number of offshore sites not regulated by the Casino Control Commission, playing at properly licensed online venues has multiple advantages.
To start with, NJ regulatory bodies apply strict standards to both online and land-based gambling and thus provide maximum player protection. On top of being able to play with a complete peace of mind, one can fund the casino account via PayPal as well as other popular eWallets, and what’s more, players are given an option to cash out in person at the casino cage. Verification processes run smoothly and there’s no withdrawal hold time.
Playing at unregulated online casinos carries an additional risk due to the fact that the best and most reputable operators decided to withdraw from the illegal market. Those still willing to accept US players may not be the most trustworthy ones and, more often than not, they provide less than satisfactory gaming experience.
Considering all of the above, NJ residents will be far better off playing at one of gaming sites licensed and regulated by the state of New Jersey.