Online gambling in New Jersey will be soft launched in two days with a full launch just one week away, but not all state residents will be able to play.
It has been confirmed by New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) Director David Rebuck that due to location verification issues, some state residents who reside near the border may be denied access to the online gambling sites. This is one of the problems associated with a state-by-state legalization plan in which border town residents may fall outside of a digital fencing area.
That area has been erected to make sure that gamblers outside of the state are not able to squeeze in, so to speak. State officials are of the mind that it’s better to err on the side of caution than to allow players beyond New Jersey to have access to online gambling.
In New Jersey, players most susceptible to being shut out include those residing near the Delaware and Hudson rivers. The digital fence has been established a bit inward so that Pennsylvania and New York residents are not permitted to perhaps break down the fencing safeguards and gamble online.
The number of New Jersey residents affected by the cyber fence is not fully known. However, Rebuck called it
an unavoidable consequence that is required in order to comply with strict regulations designed to keep out-of-staters from gaining access to online gambling before their state lawmakers have enacted the necessary legislation.
While the Nov. 21 soft launch aims to analyze payment processing and gaming site software functionality before real-money online poker in New Jersey is available to all, regulators will also be focusing on geolocation issues. Past history in Nevada indicates that such problems are par for the course.
Should the casinos that are in charge of operating the gambling sites allow players from out-of-state to gamble online, penalties in the form of fines can be levied against them. Although it is not known how heavy those fines may be, the site operators would rather not have to deal with such headaches.
The digital fencing in Nevada is estimated to be about 1 and 1/2 miles from state borders. But the population along the Nevada border is sparse in many areas. New Jersey differs in that regard, as some residents in the densely-populated border towns of Hoboken, Jersey City, Trenton and Camden are likely to be affected.
It is believed that the cyber fence in New Jersey is less of a distance to the border than Nevada. But it will still be shutting out unaware players who are likely looking forward to gambling online legally. On the bright side, geolocation experts are working on technology that will hopefully one day eliminate the need for buffer zones.
Stay informed on the latest New Jersey updates by following our US poker news on twitter.