Week #1 of regulated online gambling is in the books in New Jersey and state regulators are content with the progress made thus far.
I’m pleasantly pleased, New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement Director David Rebuck told AP. After spending the first week worrying that the system might crash, the state’s top regulator indicated that he is a bit more relaxed now that things are in place and progressing nicely.
That progress includes 5,000 new player accounts that were opened on Thanksgiving by gamblers within New Jersey. In between stuffing their faces with turkey and watching football during the holiday, those hoping to play online poker and casino games managed to find time to register at any one of a dozen websites.
Online player accounts are now in excess of 32,000 in the Garden State. However, regulators admit that an unknown number of players have registered at more than one gaming website. Nonetheless, New Jersey has now embarked on its largest gambling expansion since the first brick and mortar casinos opened their doors in Atlantic City in 1978.
It took nine months for legalized online gambling to be up and running after Governor Chris Christie signed the bill into law in late February. State regulators had been working overtime in scrutinizing license applicants, doling out licenses, and overseeing testing. The fruits of their labor will now begin to pay off.
State officials are hoping the pay off will come in the form of reversing the declining revenues seen at the state’s dozen land-based casinos for seven consecutive years. The first reports of the amount of revenue generated via Internet gambling are expected to be released in January.
Problems remain with certain financial institutions accepting deposits of players via credit card, as well as geolocation issues reported by some New Jersey residents who are being misidentified as being located out-of-state. But those problems are expected to be sorted out as time moves on.
Rebuck indicated that three or four dozen employees were working on such issues during the initial stages of the launch at each of the state’s six casinos that have been licensed to offer online gaming. Such high-paying IT jobs are seen as another bonus to igaming regulation in New Jersey.
With regard to NJ poker sites, Party Poker has taken command of market share in the first week of action in the Garden State. Caesars’ WSOP-branded poker room is not far behind. Online poker players in New Jersey are hoping that state officials will soon team up with Nevada and/or Delaware in to form interstate compact agreements in order to increase player liquidity.