New Jersey online poker has failed to meet premarket expectations and revenue forecasts since it was first legalized back in November of 2013. The isolated environment and relatively small pool of players has generated a disappointing industry that’s left both consumers and regulators frustrated.
The boss at the state’s Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) has a solution. DGE Director David Rebuck is looking across the pond to the United Kingdom.
First reported by Global Gaming Business, Rebuck issued a letter last week to several iGaming operators in New Jersey seeking their input on combining jurisdictions with the UK. The DGE also revealed that it’s reached a tentative agreement with the UK Gambling Commission.
“With nine million people in New Jersey, and more than 63 million in the United Kingdom, this would mean a massive increase in liquidity for New Jersey operators,” Rebuck explained. “We want to move it (the compact) along as quickly as possible so iGaming in New Jersey will continue the impressive growth we’ve shown over the last 15 months.”
Not Just Poker
Rebuck’s request for comment went out to all five gaming operators that are in business in both the UK and New Jersey. That includes 888 Holdings, GVC (bwin.party), PokerStars, Gamesys, and Betfair.
Of course, not all of those platforms are in the business of online poker. However, should the shared poker arrangement perform seamlessly, Rebuck would expand the agreement to additional casino games.
“Still have to figure out lots of issues: specific regulations, how the tax rate from each jurisdiction would be applied, player ID and geo-location issues, and other things we probably haven’t even considered yet,” Rebuck said of the idea.
With a combined population of over 70 million, the sharing of players could lead to substantial prize pools and give new meaning to the word “jackpot.”
If New Jersey finds a way to make this all work, online gambling in America will be forever changed. No longer would isolated markets remain secluded, and a bounty of players would be at the ready around the clock.
Yes, Nevada and Delaware are already sharing liquidity, but it’s made little impact on revenues. The two states have a total of less than four million residents.
Subtract minors and those who don’t gamble, and you’ve arrived at an inadequate online poker room.
PokerStars, 888poker, and PartyPoker collectively average over 15,000 players each week. The regulated New Jersey online poker market comes in at under 400 players.
With the UK fresh off its “Brexit” from the European Union, 2016 might be an opportune time for action. Rebuck and New Jersey are leading the way, and if a solution is discovered, it would seem likely that Nevada and Delaware would quickly follow.
America declared its independence from the UK this month back in 1776. Now 240 years later, Rebuck wants to rekindle the relationship all in the name of online poker.
If it goes through, there will be plenty of reason for fireworks.