BUSINESS

New Jersey iGaming is One Week Old

TAGs: Gov. Chris Christie, new jersey division of gaming enforcement, PartyPoker

As New Jersey iGaming celebrates it’s first birthday week we take a look at the beginning of the iGaming revolution in the Garden State to see what the industry experts have to say.

David ‘sluggy27’ Vamplew defeats 2,329 players to take the $111,768.04 first prize in the Full Tilt Poker Online Series (FTOPS) from his home in the UK, and MikeyCasino defeats 173 players to take the $8,050 first prize in PartyPoker’s first-ever $50k Guaranteed event from his home in New Jersey.

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Chalk and cheese these two events may be, but it’s a sign that the world that online poker used to know is set to return. Progress will be slow, but it’s progress nonetheless.

The New Jersey online gambling industry is one week old, and this weekend saw the first Sunday grind for the online poker players who are fortunate enough to be living in the Garden State.

PartyPoker, once the darling of the US poker industry, kicked things off with a $50k Guaranteed event, and MikeCasino took the top honors of $8,050 in the $200 buy-in event.

The tournament was viewed as a great success and New Jersey Team PartyPoker members Jamie Kersetter and Bobby Oboodi were loving every minute of it.

“This was significant as my first Sunday tournament in New Jersey. I moved to Mexico to get involved with online Sundays so it is great to be back for it and to be fully licensed and regulated. There was an overlay on PartyPoker this weekend, but that is only good news for players – it means more money for fewer players!” Said Kersetter who celebrated his first Sunday at home by throwing a party.

Over in Morris Plains Bobby Oboodi was also playing online; “I didn’t get off to the start I wanted, but it is brilliant that poker has come home to New Jersey.  I cannot wait to see what the coming weeks bring.”

According to Gov. Chris Christie, the coming weeks are going to bring nothing but shine, shine, shine.

At a recent press conference at the statehouse in Trenton Mr. Christie stood by his claims that iGaming will create $1bn in casino revenue – $180m in taxes – by July 1st. A bold statement and one that the industry analysts don’t agree with.

The credit rating firm Moody’s believe a more accurate swing is between $250-500m, whilst Fitch Ratings have an even more modest $200-300m idea floating around in the back of their scrupulous minds.

Only time will tell who is the better at forecasting, but in the meantime the prognosis is a good one. 13 gambling websites, operated by The Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, The Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort, Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, The Tropicana Casino and Resort, Bally’s Atlantic City and Caesars Atlantic City created a total of 37,277 igaming accounts, although the Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) are keen to state that those figures have not yet been audited.

Live gambling in Atlantic City generates around $2.8bn annually, which is a far cry from the $5bn that it used to drag into its coffers back in 2006, and iGaming is seen by some as being the glue that is going to stop the brick and mortar from crumbling.

David Rebuck, Director of the state DGE, is one man who is pleased that the first week is over.

“I’m very tired because for the last seven days, all I’ve been doing is worrying this was going to crash.” Said Rebuck.

The state has had its problems, just as Nevada and Delaware had before it. The main problems centering on geolocation and payment processing. For those that may be asking the question, “When are they going to get this geolocation thing right?” Rest assured improvements are being made.

Anna Sainsbury, CEO of GeoComply, has recently reported that despite problems surfacing in the Garden State they are 25% lower than the original tranche created by the opening of iGaming in Nevada.

That just leaves payment processing and the credit card companies are still reluctant to get involved with gambling companies. This window of opportunity has been grasped by the Neil Steinhardt, CEO, of payment processor Skrill who is opening his virtual wallet at the Tropicana website, and hopes to replicate the success he has had in Europe in as many parts of the US iGaming business as possible.

Steinhardt also has his fingers in the pies of Nevada and Delaware, and it seems he is going to be a busy man with industry experts predicting eight more states who will soon wake up to the smell of burgeoning taxation dollar: California, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Pennsylvania and Texas are all pursing similar laws and federal legalization was also introduced this year by New York Republican Rep. Peter King.

The first tangible reports regarding the success of the first few weeks of the New Jersey iGaming experience will likely surface in January.

Until then, it’s full steam ahead.

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