New Jersey And Texas Challenge The Gambling Law Status Quo

Written By Jessica Welman on August 13, 2017 - Last Updated on December 20, 2021
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As summer is winding down, the number of swimming pool days is limited. However, thanks to some news on the US online casino front, the days of shared player pools could be in the near future.

It seems far-fethced to believe US players would get to play with players from another country again, but a possible new law in New Jersey could change that.

It also seemed far-fetched to think poker would be openly available in Texas outside of home games, but some entrepreneurs are trying to change that as well.

These big changes are just some of the top headlines from this week in casino news. Keep reading to check out the rest:

The online casino party pool?

The idea of federally regulated online gambling in the United States still seems years away. However, the days of the states and other countries sharing player pools could be one step closer to reality soon.

State Sen. Ray Lesniak announced he is going to introduce legislation that would allow New Jersey to share player pools with other regulated markets. Currently the New Jersey constitution requires all online casino servers to be located in Atlantic City. So, if another site in another market did want to share player pools, they would need to move their servers to Jersey.

The stipulation is an interpretation of the law that all bets in the state must take place in Atlantic City. The law aimed to protect Atlantic City casinos, so it extended through to online casinos as well.

Lesniak hopes to amend that stipulation with his forthcoming bill. In his mind, since only Atlantic City casinos can possess online gambling licenses, they are significantly protected from competition.

Meanwhile, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement and the Nevada Gaming Control Board renewed talks about a compact. While New Jersey online casinos are faring fine, both the Nevada and New Jersey online poker industries would benefit from player liquidity.

Everything’s bigger in Texas, but is it legal?

Texas may be the namesake of poker’s most popular game, but it is not exactly a poker-friendly place. There is nowhere to publicly play poker for money in Texas. That is, until now.

Recently, a wave of social card clubs started popping up throughout Texas. The question is whether or not they are legal? The letter of the law suggests venues can offer poker if:

  • The game is private
  • No one is raking the game
  • The game is fair

These poker clubs are obeying the law in that they are not raking the games. However, they are charging a rental fee for your seat at the table. These workarounds are technically legal, but may not be for long. Given the state’s anti-poker sentiment, the chance legislators come after these clubs in the future certainly seems significant.

Borgata has another law suit in the cards

The latest chapter in the saga of Borgata and Phil Ivey does not have much to do with the poker pro. Instead, Borgata is moving ahead on a lawsuit against Gemaco. The card manufacturer created the cards used in Ivey’s $9.6 million baccarat run. He and his partner, Cheung Yin “Kelly” Sun, identified small imperfections in the card backs to determine which cards were beneficial.

Borgata is seeking $10.1 million from Gemaco, the same amount in the Ivey judgment. According to the New Jersey casino, Gemaco knew the card backs featured defects, but sold them anyway.

Casinos have an important civic role

The city of Plainville, MA is certainly grateful for Plainridge Park Casino. Thanks to local tax revenue from the relatively new casino, the town is able to build a new town hall and municipal complex.

While this is not exactly national news, it is a reminder that casinos can benefit communities in not-so-obvious ways. Critics say casinos destroy small towns, but in the instance of Plainville, the casino is giving it new life.

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Jessica Welman

Jessica Welman 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 A graduate of Indiana University and USC, Welman is not only a writer but also a producer. She can be found on Twitter @jesswelman.

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