Nevada became the first state to officially allow online gambling in April, when Station Casinos launched the online gambling venture UltimatePoker.com. Similar gambling websites are expected to launch in New Jersey by late November, as parties such as Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa officially enter the online gambling marketplace.
A spokesperson for Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa says that the Atlantic City based company has worked closely with state regulators through the Division of Gambling Enforcement (DGE) in order to make the process as transparent and smooth as possible. The casino company already operates 12 hotel-casino locations throughout Atlantic City and expects to see increased revenue from the online venture. A spokeswoman for the DGE confirmed that the permit issued to Borgata was indeed the first one ever awarded by the state.
The spokeswoman went on to say that the official trial period for online gambling would begin in the state tentatively on November 26th, during a time which regulators will examine the process closely to watch for any potential problems. As of now, the permission to provide gambling services online has only been extended to Borgata and its twelve casino-hotels within the state.
Experts estimate that New Jersey is positioned to make twice the revenue that Nevada sees from its online gambling operations, due to a larger market within the state. While Nevada has seen online gambling revenues increase from $50 million to $250 million since implementing changes in the law which allow for legalized online poker, New Jersey is expected to receive revenues in excess of $1 billion annually.
Not surprisingly, other casino companies have began the official permit application process through the Division of Gaming Enforcement. These include Caesar's Entertainment, Tropicana Casino and Resort, and Trump Entertainment Resorts.
Online poker sites quickly gained popularity among gamblers in the early 2000s with such sites as PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker rising to prominence online. All of this changed, however, on April 15, 2011, which is known within the online gambling industry as "Black Friday". It was on this day that the US Department Of Justice indicted the founders, partners, and operators of multiple online gambling sites on a host of charges ranging from bank fraud to money laundering.
The majority of online poker sites, including many which were not targeted by the investigation, blocked services to US-based players. Since then, however, the largest of these sites have attempted to re-enter the US marketplace by forming partnerships within the United States. Recently, Resorts Casino Hotel entered into partnership with Poker Stars and attempted to purchase The Atlantic Club Casino Hotel in a deal that later fell apart.
An industry trade group, the American Gaming Association, asked state regulators back in March to reject the petition from PokerStars to purchase The Atlantic Club. The online gambling site has since stated that its deals with resorts is still pending approval from state regulators.
Meanwhile, the Borgata is partnering with Bwin.party in their online gambling venture. The state's other casinos also plan to partner with other online gambling companies.
"This is a big step towards the opening of the regulated market for online gaming in New Jersey next month," a spokesman for Bwin.Party said in a recent interview.
Under the new state law, gamblers would still have to be physically present within New Jersey in order to legally gamble online. Still, industry insiders see it as a first step in the right direction.
"We're location-enabling Boyd and other applicants there. New Jersey is aggressively moving forward," said Rip Gerber, CEO of Locaid, which helps companies locate assets through location technologies.
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