BUSINESS

New Jersey reaches deal to share online poker liquidity with UK gambling sites

TAGs: david rebuck, division of gaming enforcement, New Jersey Online Gambling, UK Gambling Commission

new-jersey-uk-online-poker-liquidity-sharingNew Jersey-licensed online poker sites could soon be sharing liquidity with their UK-licensed counterparts, if regulators can work out a few pesky details.

On Sunday, Global Gaming Business reported that the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) had reached an agreement in principle with the UK Gambling Commission regarding a transatlantic jurisdictional partnership.

DGE Director David Rebuck cautioned that there were a host of regulatory issues yet to be resolved, including tax rates, player ID and geolocation issues as well as any number of unknown unknowns. But Rebuck insisted that “you have to start somewhere” and that the DGE was “very serious about this.”

The DGE has sent letters to its online licensees that also do business in the UK, asking them for comments on how they’d like to see a shared liquidity program work. Operators have been asked to submit their thoughts by August 1.

A DGE spokesperson told GGB that, while the transatlantic sharing program would initially focus on poker, the possibility existed that online casino options would eventually be afforded the same access.

The New Jersey sites that also conduct licensed gambling operations in the UK include Amaya Gaming’s PokerStars, 888 Holdings, GVC Holdings’ PartyPoker, Gamesys and Betfair.

It remains to be seen whether all these operators would be on board with a proposal that would principally benefit the world’s dominant poker site (PokerStars), which has already established itself as the state’s market leader despite having only launched in March.

There are potential hurdles that could prevent New Jersey gamblers from accessing UK-based sites. Part of New Jersey’s rationale behind authorizing online gambling back in 2013 was to give Atlantic City’s failing casino industry a boost. As a result, the rules specifically require that all online gambling servers be based in Atlantic City.

However, New Jersey voters are facing a ballot referendum this November that could lift this constitutional limitation in order to allow two casinos to be built in north Jersey. Assuming they vote to amend the constitution, opening that crack a little wider shouldn’t be too hard.

A US state allowing – encouraging, even – its residents to access online gambling sites based in another country would represent a first, especially since the US federal government has spent untold hours and countless dollars preventing internationally licensed gambling sites from accessing the US market. Be on the lookout for flying pigs, y’all….

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