In a regulatory shift made public earlier this month, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement has notified affiliates that if they wish to continue promoting the state’s legal casino and online poker sites, they must drop unregulated rooms from their rosters.
The notification came on June 4, when the DGE Director David Rebuck issued a Director’s Advisory Bulletin announcing the change. The full text of that bulletin can be found here.
What it means for sites promoting NJ online casinos
According to OnlinePokerReport.com, last year the DGE notified certain affiliates via a cease and desist letter that they must stop advertising illegal offshore sites beside online poker and casino rooms that are regulated by the state of New Jersey.
CardsChat.com, PokerSource.com, RakeBrain.com, Pokersites.com, RaketheRake.com, and others were warned that they must discontinue this practice. In some instances, these affiliate sites were representing illegal offshore gaming sites as being legal in New Jersey – and in many cases they continue to do so more than one year after being told to stop.
The most recent bulletin informs affiliates that they have 150 days during which to cease advertising illegal gambling sites such as Bovada Poker, Merge Gaming, Black Chip Poker, and America’s Cardroom. Affiliates must then provide a notarized letter to the DGE asserting that these changes have been undertaken.
“It is clear that those illegal online gaming sites who accept wagers from players in New Jersey pose a significant threat to the regulation of lawful gaming,” Rebuck wrote. “Online gaming operators who have been licensed by the Division were subject to a thorough investigation regarding their business history, the functionality of their system and the good character, honesty, integrity and financial stability of their executive management team and principal owners.”
“Affiliates who promote and market illegal sites to players in New Jersey are violating New Jersey law and risk the Division taking adverse enforcement action against them,” warned Rebuck.
Why does it matter?
To many, it might seem like this change is not a big deal. So why does it matter that affiliates must now only promote legal sites to New Jersey online gambling customers?
For one, unregulated sites are often subject to little or no oversight and are not accountable to issues of player security and safety. At regulated New Jersey online gambling sites – as well as at those in Delaware and Nevada, which have also legalized online betting – player funds are required to be segregated from other funds, ensuring that should a player wish to make a withdrawal, the cash is available.
One needn’t look further than the story of Lock Poker to see what can happen when online poker and casino sites are permitted to operate in the absence of regulation. While the Lock Poker saga is a recent example, it is but one of many incidences in which U.S. players were harmed due to the policies and actions of sites that operate outside of the regulated system.
Additionally, as Rebuck noted in his letter, when players are driven to illegal sites, they are not being encouraged to play at those that are regulated and safe, thus those sites lose money. It is important to protect those businesses that are playing by the rules, especially as additional states like Pennsylvania and California mull legislation to allow regulated online gambling in their jurisdictions.
Need a few more reasons? Read this article about why players should avoid unregulated online poker sites like the plague.