When Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware launched their online gambling industries (just poker for the former, poker and casino games for the latter two), the gaming sites were restricted to accepting players only from within their respective states’ borders. It was kind of bullshit, but it was the way they could be compliant with federal law, so that’s what had to be done. Now New Jersey State Senator Raymond Lesniak, arguably online poker’s biggest supporter in the New Jersey legislature, wants to change that and permit people from outside of the state to play on his state’s gaming sites.
“I’ve changed my mission from making New Jersey the Silicon Valley of Internet gaming to the Mecca of Internet gaming,” Lesniak told the Associated Press. “Online gaming has helped Atlantic City to revive its casino sector with a success that we can expand in ways that will generate more revenue, create jobs and fuel technological innovation in gaming.”
Lesniak plans on introducing a bill to allow for the expansion of online gambling player bases beyond New Jersey’s borders. The Courier-Post says that the director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, David Rebuck, has not seen a proposal yet.
As it stands now, New Jersey gaming law states that any operator wishing to do business there must house their game servers in the state. Not only that, but they must be on the premises of an Atlantic City casino; Atlantic City is the only place in the state that casinos are permitted. Additionally, as was mentioned earlier, all players must be located within New Jersey’s borders. They do not need to live there, just be located within state borders while playing online.
According to reports, Lesniak’s future bill would do a number of things to change the state gaming laws: it would remove the location restriction on players, allowing people from other states to play on New Jersey sites, it will allow international gaming companies to establish New Jersey bases, and it would lift the requirement for servers to be situated in Atlantic City.
Unfortunately, people like me, who live in the state of Georgia or the multitude of other states that do not currently have legalized, regulated gambling, would not suddenly be able to hop on PokerStars NJ or the Party Borgata network. Only people in states where online gambling is permitted would be able to play on New Jersey sites. The good thing, though, is that it would remove the need to enter into interstate gambling compacts.
Players in other countries where online gambling is regulated would also be able to get in on the fun.
One of the tricky things about expanding the geographic scope of the player base is that it would complicate geolocation, meaning the ability for the gaming sites to pinpoint where someone trying to login is sitting at the moment. New Jersey got off to a rocky site with geolocation (mainly erring on the side of being too strict and sometimes thinking a player was outside of the state when he was not), but is now an example of geolocation excellence.
Lead photo credit: @senatorlesniak Twitter