Is online poker and gambling legal in New Jersey? While the answer now, is a simple ‘yes’, the answer hasn’t always been quite that simple. New Jersey has a long and intricate gambling history and in this article, we have a look at this history as well as discuss other aspects of New Jersey’s online poker gambling laws and casino site options when online gambling in New Jersey.
New Jersey’s Journey to Legal Online Poker
Playing poker online was officially legalized in early 2013 by the state legislature, with Governor Christie signing online poker into state law. A soft launch took place on 21st November that year, followed up by a public launch 5 days later. Both were very well received and at least several online poker sites had been opened by the end of the month.
The laws that covered online gambling in New Jersey were very strict. The main part of the law stated that every gambling site operator needed to partner with a license holder. Other sections of the law state that:
- Gambling is a risk taken entirely by the player and the player needs to accept the outcome, whatever it may be.
- All gambling games provided by the regulated casinos need to depend upon a degree of chance. Skill cannot play a factor in any of the games.
Borgata was the very first company in the history of New Jersey to receive an online gambling license, which it received in October 2013. Since then, many other companies have received gambling licenses, with some doing far better than others.
PokerStars’ application for a gaming license was suspended after its involvement in the Black Friday scandal of 2011. But PokerStars returned in 2016 and gained their license and very quickly became the most popular online casino site in New Jersey, with massive amounts of site traffic.
2017 was an important year for online gambling in NJ. As of January, over 100 million dollars in tax revenue had been made by the state since the legalization of online gambling in 2013.
What New Jersey Gains from Legalizing Online Gambling
It is clear that the state of New Jersey has gained many things from its legalization of online gambling, but just what are some of the pros in the legalization of online poker and other casino games?
- Since online gambling first became legal in 2013 up until January 2017, the state of New Jersey alone made over $100 million in online gambling tax revenue. This was a big achievement for the state.
- $20 million has been generated every single month by New Jersey’s online casino industry since online gambling’s legalization in 2013.
- Online gambling companies pay the state revenues every year. Golden Nugget paid close to $6 million in May 2017. Borgata, the very first online casino company to gain a license, paid the state just short of $3 million the very same year.
- License fees, which are also paid to the state, cost a cool $400,000. $250,000 of renewal fees need to be paid by online gambling companies to the state every year too, making online gambling very lucrative for New Jersey.
Other Forms of Legal Gambling in New Jersey
- Online Casinos: Online casinos were officially legalized in New Jersey in 2013. The law that legalized these casinos stated that poker sites needed to partner with live casinos and that these online casinos could only accept players from the state of New Jersey.
- Live Poker: Live poker is legal and very well supported in New Jersey. Residents have access to the fantastic poker rooms at Atlantic City Casinos. Social poker games, taking place within people’s homes are also legal, so long as no person or group is making a profit from the running of these events.
- Online Poker: The recent New Jersey online poker gambling laws have made playing poker online easy and accessible if you live in the state of New Jersey, which is one of the 4 US states that has legalized the playing of online poker. Because New Jersey has such a large population, there are many options and fun online casinos available when playing poker, with many well-known international brands partnering with New Jersey’s casino license holders.
- Lottery Betting: Lottery betting was legalized in 1970. Since then, the lottery has become a very popular form of gambling in New Jersey, with thousands partaking in the weekly lotteries available in the state.
- Bingo Games: Bingo games are also legal in New Jersey and have been for quite some time. The United States’ laws have made provisions for both bingo as well as charity gaming and today bingo is considered as a cherished pastime for many New Jersey residents.
- Sports Betting: Although many people in New Jersey would love to see sports betting legalized, it is not presently legal in New Jersey. In fact, only one of the US states has had sports betting legalized and that state is Nevada. New Jersey has attempted to legalize sports betting too but so far none of the attempts have been successful in lifting the strict laws regarding sports betting.
- Charitable Gambling: If a charity organization intends on hosting a gambling event they need to apply for a gambling license from the state as well as somehow prove that the funds raised by the event will indeed go to a good cause and not be used for individual gain. It must also be ensured that people taking part in the game are 18 years old and up and that no alcohol is sold while the games are being played.
Best Poker Sites for Players in New Jersey
It can be tricky to choose a site at which to play online poker, considering all the options out there. But below is a list of the best and most trustworthy online casinos available in New Jersey:
- 888poker: 888 Poker is a crisp, clean site that has some of the best welcome bonuses available for new players. When signing up, 888poker will match your first deposit up to the value of $1500. New players also receive a $20 no deposit bonus as well as $4 in poker chips as well as a handful of tournament entries.
- PokerStars: PokerStars is known for having the very best tournaments and variety of games out of all the available online casinos. One of their most popular features is their 24/7 support staff that are always ready to assist players in any way necessary. There are at least 5 varieties of online poker available at PokerStars, including Texas Hold ‘em, Stud Poker and Omaha.
- Pala Poker: Pala Poker is one of New Jersey’s most famous online poker sites. Pala Poker is most known for their live casino options, with live dealers as well as the vast array of poker variations available. Pala Poker has loads of tournaments on offer, giving players the opportunity to win the big bucks from the comfort of their homes.
- WSOP.com: The World Series Poker offers 74 events throughout the year with a variety of different styles of poker being offered. Events can take anywhere from one day to one week. WSOP gives you the option to sign in via your Facebook account, making it a worthy option for younger players.
- Party Poker: Party Poker online casinos don’t just offer poker games; they offer a variety of other table games as well as over 200 slots and live casino games. If you are looking for variety: Party Poker is definitely a good choice. Party Poker is a highly sophisticated platform and allows players to play on their desktops, tablets or even cell phones.
- Borgata Poker: Borgata was the first establishment to gain its gambling license in 2013 and has since then made quite the name for itself in the world of online gambling too. Borgata uses state of the art software to ensure their players have a safe and enjoyable online experience. Another great thing about Borgata is that they offer exceptionally enticing welcome bonuses for new players.
The Future of Online Poker in New Jersey
Although the future is always difficult to predict, the future of online gambling in NJ looks rather promising. It seems that online poker has gained a permanent position in New Jersey’s online gambling infrastructure, so perhaps the future holds the inclusion of more types of gambling.
Chris Christie’s term in office comes to an end in January 2018, and she was known for being heavily against sports betting, appealing for a federal ban on it. The new governor of New Jersey may not be quite as staunch so there is a possibility that things will be more lenient towards online gambling in New Jersey in general.
New Jersey is fortunate that it is one of the four states that has enjoyed legal online gambling and it has been a leader in online poker in the US for a while now, it will most likely stay that way for a while yet.