Bill Proposed By Sen. Lesniak Aims To Open The Floodgates Of NJ Online Gambling Pool

[toc]Online gambling in New Jersey is already booming, but a new proposal from state Sen. Ray Lesniak could make it even bigger.

Lesniak recently announced plans to introduce a new bill that would allow NJ online casino sites more options to share player pools with other states and countries.

Bill revises NJ online gambling server requirements

New Jersey officials previously tried to partner up with other markets to share player pools. Last year the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) and the UK Gaming Commission agreed to a deal to share players.

That deal fell through for one very specific reason, though: servers.

The New Jersey gaming laws require any servers hosting online casinos and poker rooms to be located in Atlantic City. The state’s constitution stipulates that all gambling must take place within the confines of Atlantic City. When online gaming launched, the servers went there to be in accordance with the law.

Existing gaming companies in Great Britain or other countries are not that interested in relocating every server to New Jersey, so the deal with the UK fell through.

This week, Lesniak said he is going to introduce a bill revising those server requirements. To him, the mandate is designed to protect Atlantic City casinos. Since only Atlantic City casinos are eligible to apply for online gaming licenses, Lesniak says the measure is redundant.

In order to protect customers, Lesniak did stipulate the bill would only allow other regulated markets to share player pools with New Jersey. He explained his goals to the Associated Press:

“I’ve changed my mission from making New Jersey the Silicon Valley of Internet gaming to the Mecca of Internet gaming. Online gaming has helped Atlantic City to revive its casino sector with a success that we can expand in ways that will generate more revenue, create jobs and fuel technological innovation in gaming.”

Why does New Jersey need to share player pools?

Considering the success and continued growth of New Jersey online casinos, it may seem like an unnecessary step to allow other markets to share liquidity.

While online casinos are thriving, online poker in New Jersey is stagnant. June was actually the worst month for online poker in the Garden State since it launched. The biggest issue hampering online poker growth is a lack of players.

Unlike online casino games, which promise big paydays no matter how many people are playing, online poker players need a lot of players in order to generate large tournament prize pools and infuse money into the cash game ecosystem.

If New Jersey wants to grow its online poker market, it needs shared liquidity with other markets. A compact immediately allows new players onto the site from outside markets. Additionally, others in New Jersey who previously did not have interest in such a small market might decide to give online poker a try.

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About the Author

Jessica Welman

Jessica Welman is a longtime member of the poker media and online gambling world. She has worked as a tournament reporter for the World Poker Tour, co-hosted a podcast for Poker Road, and served as the managing editor for Welman has been involved for livestreams for the WSOP and WPT and worked as a consultant on many other poker productions. She can be found on Twitter @jesswelman.