Is New Jersey Going To Share Player Pools With Other Markets Soon?

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New Jersey state Sen. Ray Lesniak is floating yet another idea that makes complete sense. 

He wants to open up the state’s online gambling sites to the rest of the world, and he could end up saving the state’s fledgling online poker business in the process.  

Last week, Lesniak told the Associated Press he was preparing to introduce legislation that would allow people outside of New Jersey to play on state licensed gambling sites. Currently, only players located inside New Jersey can play poker, spin slots and gamble on electronic versions of popular casino table games on the state’s licensed and regulated online gaming sites. 

Lesniak’s plan is to allow players in other jurisdictions around the globe where online gambling is also legal to make online wagers on New Jersey sites. This would, of course, include the states of Nevada and Delaware – The only other US states where some form of online gaming has been legalized.  

A Mecca for internet gaming

Lesniak went on the record claiming he’s ready to turn New Jersey into a Mecca for internet gaming. In fact, he said he’s looking to generate more revenue, more jobs, and more technological innovation from the same online gaming sector responsible for reviving the Atlantic City casino industry of late. 

For those who pay attention to New Jersey politics and the state’s casino industry, it’s no surprise the 71-year-old Lesniak is behind this plan. 

This is the same state Senator who championed the cause of online gambling legislation in the state, fought hard to allow online poker giant PokerStars to return to the US through New Jersey, and backed the state’s original efforts to legalize sports betting.  

To say Lesniak is a friend to gaming with a lot of common sense ideas that are good for both gamblers and the industry as a whole would be a gross understatement. Lesniak is closer to a godsend for gaming, and his latest plan is yet another idea that’s time has certainly come. 

NJ internet gambling industry sets records

On its own, the New Jersey internet gambling industry set records for revenue in 2016. In fact, the $196.7 million in revenue recorded helped turn around a decade of revenue declines for the Atlantic City casino industry as a whole.  

Plus, online revenue numbers are on pace to set another record this year. The state’s online casino and poker sites are averaging revenue of close to $20 million a month through the first half of 2017, and showing no signs of slowing down. 

If there is a dark cloud to this silver lining, it’s online poker. In fact, June 2017 was the worst month for NJ online poker since the market launched. Operators reported just $1.74 million in revenue. 

A greater impact on online poker

Under Sen. Lesniak’s plan there likely to be a few more people spinning New Jersey’s online roulette wheels and doubling down on its virtual blackjack tables. However, opening up New Jersey’s online poker sites to players from outside the state, and the country, will likely have a much larger impact. 

The rest of the world has long viewed Americans as the suckers at its online poker tables and have been looking forward to the opportunity to play with them again since the Department of Justice locked US citizens out of the games in April 2011. 

Ballooning player and prize pools

The day New Jersey online poker sites start welcoming players from around the world, the sites are sure to see increased player pools and ballooning prize pools.  It may even become attractive enough to impact domestic tourism in the Garden State the way some thought online poker would at launch.

The truth is, there’s more than a handful of Americans willing to travel to New Jersey to play a Sunday Million event should prize pools ever reach that point. There’s no guarantee, but on the surface, it looks like following Lesniak’s plan would get them there sooner rather than later.

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Martin Derbyshire

About

Martin Derbyshire has more than ten years of experience reporting on the poker, online gambling, and land-based casino industries for a variety of publications including Bluff Magazine, PokerNews, and PokerListings. He has traveled extensively, attending tournaments and interviewing major players in the gambling world.