ATLANTIC CITY — At 6pm Thursday, Nov. 21, several hundred invited players within the state of New Jersey — all at least age 21 and all associated with the seven Atlantic City casinos in possession of Internet gambling permits — will test the casinos’ online gambling systems with real-money bets.
The trial run will be in effect through Monday, Nov. 25, and if all the components pass muster with the N.J. Division of Gaming Enforcement — things like ensuring that gamblers are physically within New Jersey’s borders while gambling (done through global positioning systems), that they can provide proof of legal age, and that electronic payment technology is functioning properly — then Atlantic City will formally launch Internet gambling Tuesday, Nov. 26. The state debut of Internet gambling will place New Jersey as the third state to allow Internet gambling along with Delaware and Nevada.
In New Jersey’s case, every game played within the walls of the brick-and-mortar casinos that have Internet gambling permits will now be available to players online. The two most recent to gain permits were Caesars and Bally’s, which will operate through their parent company’s (Caesars Entertainment) subsidiary’s (Caesars Interactive) Web sites (CaesarsCasino.com, HarrahsCasino.com or WSOP.com). Caesars Entertainment’s other two A.C. properties, Showboat and Harrah’s, were also eligible for permits, but thus far the company has only sought two.
The other A.C. casinos that gained permits through associations with established Internet gambling Web sites (or online gambling operators) are Borgata, Trump Plaza and Trump Taj Mahal, Tropicana, and Golden Nugget. The remaining three in Atlantic City — Resorts, Atlantic Club and Revel — have taken steps toward obtaining permits but as of yet have not received them. The seven casinos approved by the N.J. Division of Gaming Enforcement collectively offered 14 Web sites for customers to make real-money bets. When the trial period ends and Internet gambling in New Jersey is formally launched, each casino will be allowed as many as five Web sites apiece through which gamblers can make bets 24 hours per day.
“[Online gambling operators] can maintain more direct contact via the Internet with Internet customers and then cross market that to the land-based casinos,” said Jack Adams, deputy attorney general for the N.J. Department of Gaming Enforcement, in an interview with Atlantic City’s NBC-TV 40. “That to me will hopefully be a win–win for all the properties here that are going to have Internet gaming.”
Sen. Raymond Lesniak
In related news coming from the office of State Senator Raymond Lesniak — who sponsored the original bill to allow online gambling in New Jersey (passed by the N.J. Legislature in 2011; revised and eventually approved by Gov. Chris Christie in Feb. 2013 after he initially vetoed it) — a new bill was proposed to authorize the N.J. Division of Gaming Enforcement to provide licenses to companies offering Internet gaming to other countries where it is legal.
The new bill’s intention is to lure overseas customers (including casinos in other countries) to wager through Atlantic City’s online gambling structure. If the bill passes, the Atlantic City online gambling agreement would then be limited to New Jersey state residents and residents in other countries.
“New Jersey’s casino industry is well regulated and highly respected, which gives us an advantage,” says Lesniak in the release. “We can capitalize on our strengths and attract business to build and invest in our state. There’s no reason this business should be going to Gibraltar or the Isle of Man when it could be coming to New Jersey.”
The bill requires that the entire foreign Internet wagering operation, including facilities, equipment and personnel, “be located in a secure facility inaccessible to the public and specifically designed for that purpose at an approved location in New Jersey.”
“New Jersey’s Internet gaming law will be a real boost to the state, Atlantic City and the casino industry,” adds Lesniak. “International online gaming will provide even more opportunities, more jobs and more growth. We need to lay the foundation now.”