According to official statistics, as of January 31, 2014, 197,782 individual accounts have been created by residents of the state. That figure, released by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, represents a 27% increase compared to the numbers from mid-January alone.
Meanwhile, analysts and politicians are both happy about the fact that these new gambling sites are poised to bring in billions of dollars in revenue over the next few years, while also creating thousands of high-paying tech jobs across the state. The state currently levies a 15% tax on revenue from online gambling versus the 8% tax on gambling at brick and mortar establishments.
There are even plans to take online gambling in the state a step further. Democrat State Senator Raymond Lesniak has proposed new legislation which would allow for these online gambling sites to solicit players in surrounding states and from other countries as well, helping for the state to tap into the nearly $33 billion online market for gambling services. This would be an unprecedented move, as there are only two other states which allow for in-state online gambling: Nevada and Delaware. Nevada websites only offer online poker, while Delaware's laws are similar to those which currently exist in New Jersey.
New Jersey resident and professional poker player Michael Gagliano has been a vocal proponent of the new gambling laws since they went into effect. On any given day, he enjoys playing fifty tournaments through the WSOP and Bovada websites. "The buy-ins on the tournaments I play are usually thousands of dollars each and I often break even," Gagliano said, adding that he particularly enjoyed the range of games and high number of players available at the websites. "The key is to keep good records to know exactly how much money you're making."
Gagliano says that he plays online casinos 70% of the time compared to 30% at brick and mortar establishments. In terms of total hands played, however, more than 90% are online, as the action is quicker and multiple tables can be played at one time.
"With online play, you don't have to worry about cards and chips, so the play is much faster," Gagliano said. "Online, I'm seeing at least 100 hands an hour per each table and I can play anywhere from eight to ten tables at one time. That makes a total of 1,000 hands, which is significantly higher than the average of 25-30 that one will see when playing live at a single table."
The United States government doesn't allow its residents worldwide access to online gambling websites. Prosecutors alleged that the three online poker sites had violated the 2006 Unlawful Gambling Enforcement Act. This Act prohibits the transfer of money for games that are prohibited by either federal or state laws.
As a result of the action taken by the US government, Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars both stopped accepting play for real money while other sites moved to prohibit residents of the United States from using their services.
With the new laws legalizing play in New Jersey, however, things are increasingly looking better for online players. "In regulated states such as New Jersey, we're seeing people flock to legal sites, abandoning offshore poker sites in the process," said Rich Muny of the Poker Player Alliance. The alliance is a lobbying group for poker players and has over one million members, including 25,000 of them in the state of New Jersey alone. "We're seeing the market demand compliance, as was expected."
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