New Jersey Online Gaming Scene Open for Business
After five days of furious “soft launch” testing, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement gave the OK late Monday night for several sites to “go live,” making New Jersey the third state in the U. S. to offer online gaming for its residents.
Although there have been grumblings over several issues related to the New Jersey “soft launch,” DGE officials were confident enough in the overall performance by the plethora of sites in the New Jersey online gaming system to give the go-ahead. Issues such as geolocation (currently the New Jersey sites require a Wi-Fi connection to obtain a player’s location), age verification and some payment processing issues have come out during the “soft launch,” but the DGE felt that they system was performing well enough that it was ready to go.
PressofAtlanticCity.com’s Jennifer Bogdan pointed out a few of these issues when discussing the hard launch with officials. One of the payment processors points out that two banks, Bank of America and Wells Fargo, will not process credit card transactions for the sites. Bogdan reports that there are significant changes coming in the next year to 18 months and more processors will be permitted. Improvements are also expected in the geolocation services, she writes.
According to John Brennan’s Meadowlands Matters blog, there have been some questions about which sites are the legal ones to play in New Jersey. Brennan reports that these 13 sites are the ONLY legal outlets for the New Jersey online gaming system:
Caesars Entertainment/888 Holdings
Trump Taj Mahal/Ultimate Gaming
The Golden Nugget, which has partnered with Amaya Gaming, was a part of the “soft launch,” but they will remain in the test phase of operations for at least another week. Revel and the Atlantic Club haven’t gotten into the game due to their dire financial straits, while the PokerStars/Resorts International partnership has yet to be cleared for a test phase.
The most fun at the initial startup seemed to be with the Taj Mahal/Ultimate Gaming operation. From a suite inside the Taj Mahal, Ultimate Gaming officials gathered with three celebrities to open up action when the bell rang. Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White, former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar and “Jersey Shore” star Jennifer “JWoww” Farley ensconced themselves behind computers and, as the midnight hour struck, raced into the virtual casino.
“Hey Lorenzo Fertita (the owner of Ultimate Gaming and the UFC),” White tweeted before the doors officially opened, “Congrats on Ultimate Casino. (Ready) to kick your ass at blackjack! What’s my limit?” As White proceeded to rack up a sizeable win following the opening, Ultimate Gaming Director of Player Operations Terrence Chan commented, “Dana White is singlehandedly destroying our November net revenue…I was hoping for a Christmas bonus.” According to White’s Twitter feed, he ended his swing on Ultimate Casino with a more than $40,000 profit; Farley and Edgar, however, didn’t fare as well.
Even at this early stage, the New Jersey poker outlets have made their impact on the international poker industry. The New Jersey version of WSOP.com is already registering in 45th place on PokerScout.com’s industry rankings, with a 24-hour peak of 210 players and a seven-day average (of course, projected at this point) of 60 cash game players. The 888-operated All American Poker Network peaked at 175 players while earning a projected seven-day average of 45 players (good for 49th place).
Ultimate Poker (41/10, 57th) and partypoker New Jersey (26/6, 60th) are still getting warmed up, but they have plenty of time. These numbers should increase for everyone as the Thanksgiving weekend plays out and more potential customers are at home in New Jersey for the holidays. According to Bogdan, over 10,000 people have already signed up for play through the “soft launch” on the group of New Jersey online gaming sites from the 9 million residents of the Garden State.
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