I spent the last month on vacation in the Tri-State area. I flew in to celebrate the occasion of my brother’s wedding and I brought my whole family with me on holiday. I spent about equal amounts of time in New York and New Jersey, with three days in Pennsylvania. I crossed state borders multiple times, went over plenty of bridges and through many a tunnel. Out of the month, only three days were spent in and around casinos (in Atlantic City and in the Parx, in Eastern Pennsylvania); after all, this was meant to be a family trip, not a poker vacation.
I did all the driving during the month, and it amounted to close to 1,500 miles on the road. We hit a ton of tourist spots as well as local entertainment areas that were more suitable for kids. I didn’t spend too much time in front of a computer – so I wasn’t bombarded, as I usually am, by the ads I normally see trying to convince me which online casinos are the best. I did spend quite a bit of time on my Smartphone though, and none of the geo-located advertisements were trying to convince me to do any sort of gambling online (or ever land-based for that matter).
Also, I didn’t watch too much TV. After full days of family activities, to be honest I was often just too pooped even to sit in front of the boob tube; and why would I do that when I could finally get a few precious moments with my wife each evening? On the rare occasion I had some time to myself, I tried out Netflix for the first time – we don’t have that here at home in Israel. Wow! So cool! (I know it probably makes me seem out of touch to many of you, but the fact is that when you experience Netflix for the first time, it really is incredible!) Why did I mention all of this? Because Netflix has no advertisements.
You’d think that over the course of 31 days in NY, NJ, and PA I’d see more advertisements for online gambling – legal in the Garden State. The only place I really saw ads for the legal online gambling sites was on billboards in the immediate vicinity of Atlantic City. As someone ridiculously into gambling and poker, I was always on the lookout for them, eager to see how the offline ads looked and what they offered newbies who’d register and set up a real money account.
Furthermore, while there’s some sense to the fact that I saw a good amount of ads for online gambling while in the Atlantic City area and in the casinos there, that whole concept kind of misses the entire point of online gambling, namely that you can gamble from your computer from anywhere you want (in this case, within New Jersey state lines) WITHOUT having to drive all the way to a casino.
Where on Earth are All the Offline Ads?
The fact of the matter is that I barely noticed any offline advertising for casino gaming or poker online whatsoever. I know I’m just one person, and I know I wasn’t everywhere, but considering the amount of traveling I did in and around New Jersey, the sheer lack of exposure I had to advertisements for online gambling constitutes an epic fail in my book by the operators licensed to offer it.
So next time you poker fans read statistics about online poker and online gambling in New Jersey and can’t figure out why the numbers aren’t higher, don’t be so surprised. The fact is that most people in the Garden State probably simply aren’t even aware that online gambling is legal there or even exists in the first place.
Having said all this, I certainly hope for a turnaround and that the online poker operators in New Jersey can “get their act together”, so to speak, to better get the word out about the product they’re offering.
How to ameliorate the situation and get some more online gambling going in New Jersey? I’ll have some ideas about that in my next blog post… stay tuned!