New Jersey is a legally recognized poker destination for players from all around the United States and the rest of the world, both for the online and live versions of the game. While Las Vegas may be the ultimate poker destination, for a particular generation of poker players, Atlantic City is just as famous. Of all, it was the casinos of Atlantic City, not Vegas, that served as the setting for Rounders, widely regarded as the finest modern poker movie.
Anyhow, despite the fact that it lacks the glitter of Las Vegas, New Jersey remains an important player in the poker world. It’s no surprise that there are a number of people in NJ who have questions about how online poker works and the legal difficulties surrounding online poker. Well, today we are going to talk about just that, online gaming and poker, their history, and which House bills impacted them the most.
Legal gambling in the Garden State is on the rise
New Jersey’s online casinos and poker rooms continue to set records, with revenue of $137.8 million in January, up nearly 33% year over year. In 2022, the Garden State has come out on top, with all-time highs in sports wagering and iGaming income. Check out iGamingNJ website for more information about the record profits of NJ’s iGaming operations.
While sports betting handled $1.35 billion in January, online casinos and poker rooms did well, too, with revenue exceeding December’s previous high by more than $5 million, or 3%. This segment’s daily income increased to $4.4 million in January, up from $4.3 million in December. In terms of revenue, internet casinos made $135.3 million in January 2021, up approximately 34% from $101 million in January 2021. Poker rooms, on the other hand, generated a much smaller $2.6 million, but this was up 6.8% year over year.
History of house bills regulating online gambling and poker in New Jersey
The drive to legalize in-state online gambling in New Jersey began in January 2010, when State Senator Ray Lesniak (D-Union) presented bill S3167, which would enable licensed Atlantic City casinos to provide online poker and casino games to residents of the Garden State. It was ultimately vetoed by Chris Christie.
Lesniak quickly introduced SB S1565 and its counterpart, AB A2578, alongside Senate colleague and cosponsor James Whelen (D – Atlantic City) as cosponsors. The two legislations maintained the previous $200,000 license cost and $100,000 yearly fee but cut the tax rate in half to 10%.
The Senate bill passed the State Government, Wagering, Tourism, and Historic Preservation Committee in April 2012. However, due to a lack of Democratic support and Christie’s hesitancy, Lesniak said that the bill will most certainly be delayed until the autumn.
Bill A2578: Online Poker was legalized in New Jersey back in 2013, the bill was signed by Governor Chris Christie, and it became effective that same year. A2578 allows land-based casinos in New Jersey to apply for an online gaming license and cooperate with an iGaming software vendor or operator (e.g., GameSys, FanDuel, 888). To fund the application process, casino applicants must pay a nonrefundable deposit of $100,000. If authorized, the funds will be allocated to the $400,000 cost of the gaming license itself.
The law was revised, with the tax rate increased from 10% to 15%, and it was passed by the Assembly (68-5) and the Senate (68-5) again (35-1). Chris Christie signed the bill into law the same day, making New Jersey the third state to authorize internet gambling, after Nevada and Delaware.