Poker News

As they stuff their turkeys, make final preparations for the family to come home and ensure there’s enough money in the bank for the upcoming Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa season, New Jersey residents will have something else to be thankful for two days before Thanksgiving.

It was announced yesterday that the New Jersey online gaming industry, which has been going through its licensing procedures through much of 2013, will go live on November 26 in the Garden State. There will be a five day testing period prior to the start to ensure that all operations are in good working order and, if all is deemed clear by the New Jersey Casino Control Commission and the Division of Gaming Enforcement, then the Garden State will become the second state in the U. S. to offer online gaming to its residents.

There are a couple of things that make the anticipation of the opening of the New Jersey online gaming scene a little different from when Nevada came online earlier this year. In New Jersey’s case, the efforts will be for full online casino gaming instead of “just” online poker. For people who want to participate (21 years of age or older, please), table games such as blackjack and craps as well as virtual slot machines and keno will be offered (basically any game offered in an Atlantic City casino will be eligible for play). Of course, it will be the online poker where most attention will be paid by the poker world.

The second reason for the anticipation of the New Jersey online gaming operations is that, with its roughly 9 million residents (11th largest state), it will be the largest regulated market in the U. S. to offer online gaming to its residents. When the New Jersey online gaming industry opens for business in November (should all go well), it should have a significant impact.

All twelve of the Atlantic City casinos have partnered up (to receive a license, all gaming must originate from that location) with a service provider and are gearing up for the openings at this time. The powerhouse of the New Jersey online gaming industry is expected to be Caesars Entertainment with its longstanding casino operations in the state. Teaming up with 888 Holdings (as they have in Nevada), Caesars should be at the forefront of many potential customers’ minds when the switch is flipped.

Caesars will be allowing one of its four operations in Atlantic City – their eponymous casino, Bally’s, Harrah’s and the Showboat – to host the operations for Wynn Gaming and 888 Holdings in a deal that was announced last month, although just which one it will be hasn’t been disclosed.

The Borgata, owned by Boyd Gaming with bwin.Party providing the software, should be a close second in the New Jersey online gaming race. The Trump Taj Mahal will bring in another veteran of the Nevada online poker wars, Ultimate Gaming, to offer their software, opening another potential battlefront on the East Coast between them and Caesars/888. The Trump Plaza is opening its doors with the assistance of Betfair after its absence from American shores. The Tropicana has enlisted Gamesys for its offerings and the Golden Nugget will join forces with Bally Technologies for their online gaming software.

The “800 pound gorilla” in the room might be the partnership between Resorts International and PokerStars. After settling their “Black Friday” suit last year, PokerStars has been looking for a way to get back to the United States; if they are able to earn that license from New Jersey gaming officials, the Resorts/PokerStars partnership would be welcomed back by a throng of online poker players.

At this time, Revel Casino Hotel and the Atlantic Club have yet to announce who they will be joining forces with.

What is at stake in New Jersey? Estimates have ranged up to $180 million in online gaming revenue in the coming year for those in the game, which would be a significant shot in the arm for an ailing Atlantic City casino industry that has seen its revenues fall from $5.2 billion in 2006 to only $3 billion last year. If interstate compacts are introduced, that figure would be even greater.

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