New Jersey online poker overview
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|WSOP/888 US||355||487||220||Play Now|
|PokerStars NJ||124||250||100||Play Now|
|PartyPoker NJ||33||9||9||9||Play Now|
Online poker is now an entrenched part of the New Jersey online gaming industry.
After a couple of failed attempts over a three-year period, New Jersey lawmakers finally got then-Governor Chris Christie to sign into law an online gambling bill that included online poker legislation in February 2013.
The bill authorized the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) to put together regulations that would govern online poker in the state. Plus, it asked the board to issue internet gaming licenses to vetted potential operators affiliated with Atlantic City casinos.
Delaware and Nevada signed an agreement to share player pools in 2014, and began doing so in 2015. New Jersey signed onto that agreement in October 2017.
That agreement resulted in the start of shared player pools between WSOP.com NV and WSOP.com NJ sites beginning on April 30, 2018. As of now, only WSOP.com and 888poker are able to take advantage of the tri-state compact.
The New Jersey online poker market launched in November 2013. There are now seven licensed and regulated online poker sites operating in the state. Plus, there are two multi-site online poker networks that share player pools. One includes three of the seven sites in the state. The other has two.
New Jersey online poker laws
The online gambling bill signed into law by Christie on Feb. 26, 2013 is officially known as A2578. It governs online poker and online casino operations in the state.
In fact, the law authorized the DGE to provide oversight and issue licenses for online gambling operators in New Jersey. Essentially, the law allows the sites to provide division-tested online poker and casino games to players who are 21 and older and physically located in the state.
On Nov. 21, 2013, six online poker sites launched in New Jersey. Two have since ceased operations. However, three more have been licensed and opened up in the state since that time.
What is or is not legal in New Jersey?
Anytime you are in the state of New Jersey, you can legally play real-money online poker. Provided you play on sites licensed and regulated by DGE. No matter where you’re from.
However, sites and players must adhere to specific online poker regulations set by DGE. These regulations include:
- Players must be at least 21 to play at NJ’s regulated online poker sites.
- Sites are required to verify player identity.
- NJ residency is not required. In fact, anyone of age who can be confirmed as being located within the state can play.
- Sites are required to demonstrate they can provide a secure gameplay environment and securely store personal player information.
- Operators must pay a 15 percent online gambling tax on gross revenue.
Where can I play poker online in New Jersey?
There are currently seven individual online poker sites, and two multi-site networks operating in the state. The NJ online poker sites include:
The site offers new players no-deposit and first-time deposit bonuses. WSOP.com shares cash game player liquidity on a network with 888 Poker. It also pools players with its sister site in Neada The result is the largest cash game player pools in the state. In addition to No-Limit Hold’em, there are Pot-Limit Omaha and Omaha 8 games.
WSOP.com also features Sit & Go’s, Blast Sit & Gos, and a multi-table tournament schedule with some of the largest guaranteed prize pools in the state. Plus, WSOP.com is the only online poker site in New Jersey with the ability to offer online satellites into live WSOP events in Las Vegas.
The world’s leading online poker site PokerStars launched its NJ online poker site in March 2016 operating under the Resorts AC internet gambling license. The site immediately became NJ online poker market leaders, but that will likely change once shared player pooling in operation on WSOP.com is rolling for a few months.
PokerStars offers a deposit-match and free play with a deposit bonus in New Jersey. The site holds close to 40 percent of the New Jersey online poker cash game market making its player pool the largest in the state. Plus, there’s more than just No-Limit Hold’em and Pot-Limit Omaha. In fact, PokerStars software runs 8-game, 2-7 Triple Draw, and Stud games.
There are Sit & Go tournaments, PokerStars’ own Spin & Go’s, and the biggest schedule of multi-table tournaments in the state. PokerStars also runs regular tournament series with large guaranteed prize pools, including the New Jersey Championship of Online Poker and PokerStars Winter Series.
Pala Interactive, LLC, the online arm of the same Pala Band of Mission Indians that owns and operates the Pala Casino Spa and Resort in Pala, California, launched an online poker site in June 2017. The site operates under Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa’s internet gaming license and uses its own proprietary software.
Pala Poker offers a welcome package to players new to its network of online gambling sites in New Jersey that includes money that can be used to play online poker.
The site’s software includes the most popular poker variants in cash game, tournament, and sit ‘n’ go formats. Plus, it includes a PalaPoker.com branded fast-fold game called FastPala.
There isn’t a ton of traffic on the site just yet, but that just means overlays on all tournament guarantees as it continues to grow.
Worldwide online gaming giant 888 launched an online poker site in conjunction with iGaming partner Caesars Interactive Entertainment when the New Jersey market opened up in 2013.
The site offers new players a no-deposit bonus. 888 NJ shares cash game player liquidity on a network with WSOP.com. The site is No-Limit Hold’em and Pot-Limit Omaha only, although there are cash games, Sit & Go’s and a regular and rather robust multi-table tournament schedule.
Borgata opened up an online poker room in New Jersey the same day online gambling launched in the state in 2013. The site is a partnership with online gaming leader bwin.party, now GVC.
The site offers new players no-deposit and first-deposit bonuses.
Borgata shares player pools with the partypoker NJ and playMGM online poker sites. Only the branding, promotions and a handful of tournaments are different on the three sites.
The site offers cash games, Sit & Go’s, and multi-table tournaments featuring poker variants including:
- No-Limit and Limit Hold’em
- 7 Card Stud
- Pot-Limit Omaha
- Omaha Hi-Lo
Borgata has had great success running online satellites for events on it hugely popular seasonal live tournament schedule at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa.
Partypoker NJ online poker launched in 2013 when the NJ online poker market opened. The site offers new players a no-deposit bonus.
Partypoker NJ shares player pools with Borgata and playMGM online poker sites. Only the branding, promotions and a handful of tournaments are different on the three sites.
It appears partypoker is strictly No-Limit Hold’em and Pot-Limit Omaha cash games these days. Limit and Stud games do not run anymore.
There are Sit & Go’s and multi-table tournaments, but the player pools for these are small on the site. It’s annual Garden State Super Series has failed to live up to expectations as well.
The playMGM poker site opened up in New Jersey in August 2017 under the MGM-owned Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa’s internet gambling license.
The site offers new players no-deposit and first-deposit bonuses.
The site shares player pools with Borgata and partypoker NJ. The branding, promotions, and a handful of tournaments are really the only differences between the sites.
In fact, playMGM uses the same GVC software and also offers:
- No-Limit Hold’em
- Limit Hold’em
- 7-Card Stud
- Pot-Limit Omaha
- Omaha Hi-Lo cash games
- Sit & Go’s
- Multi-table tournaments
Where can I play poker live in New Jersey?
Live poker is quite popular in New Jersey. Atlantic City is currently home to seven open and operating casinos and five of them have poker rooms. The list includes:
- Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa – An 85-table poker room that is the premier poker destination on the East Coast. The huge cash game and tournament scene also features two annual World Poker Tour stop.
- Golden Nugget Atlantic City – A small 10-table poker room located in the Main Atrium area of the Marina District property. The intimate room caters to its own unique player base.
- Harrah’s Atlantic City – The home of the WSOP in Atlantic City, this 40-table room hosts an annual World Series of Poker Circuit stop.
- Bally’s Atlantic City – Bally’s is home to a 42-table WSOP-branded poker room featuring cash games and daily tournaments. Caesars Atlantic City once had a poker room, but all its action has moved over here.
- Tropicana – The once mighty Trop battled for the title of top dog in AC with now-defunct Taj for decades. The new Trop Poker Club is a lot smaller, but still features cash games, daily tournaments, and decent comps for players.
History of online poker in New Jersey
The popularity of online poker rose immensely across the US in 2003 after a Tennessee accountant aptly named Chris Moneymaker won the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event. The key was that Moneymaker won his way into the tournament through an online satellite, giving millions of Americans the idea they could be next.
Additionally, the sudden advent of hole-card cameras also made the live game infinitely more watchable on TV. Americans tuned in big time to WSOP and World Poker Tour coverage where every commercial break was filled with spots for offshore online poker sites, selling the game to the masses.
Congress tried to put an end to offshore operators’ dominance of the budding industry by passing the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act in 2006. In fact, this made it illegal for US banks to deal with the sites. It did it push a handful of operators out of the US market. However, it didn’t stop US players from playing.
In fact, the sites still accepting US players found ways around the law and online poker continued to grow.
New Jersey’s first look at online gambling legislation
Some four years later, New Jersey nearly became the first state to legalize and regulate online poker and casino gambling in the US.
In fact, State Sen. Raymond Lesniak introduced a bill that would allow Atlantic City casinos to operate internet casinos within the state in early 2010. State Assemblyman John Burzichelli introduced a similar bill later in the year. Then, in early 2011, both branches of the state legislature passed an amended version of it.
However, fearing the law might attract a wave of new internet cafes around the state that would effectively be unauthorized casinos, Christie vetoed the bill in March 2011.
Then, on April 15, 2011, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) indicted executives at the largest offshore online poker operators. This included PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker/Ultimate Bet. The DOJ charged them with various money laundering and illegal gambling offenses. Plus, the online poker site domains were seized. US players were suddenly out of the game.
In December 2011, in response to questions about the legality of online lottery sales, the DOJ released a legal opinion that the Federal Wire Act only applies to sports betting. However, state lawmakers around the country took this to mean they could consider licensing and regulating online poker and casino sites as well.
The New Jersey online poker market opens
In early 2012 Christie changed his tune on online gambling and Lesniak put forth a new bill with protections against Christie’s previous concerns.
Lawmakers passed the bill in December 2012. However, before Christie had a chance to sign it into law, Delaware and Nevada moved forward with legalizing and regulating different forms of online gambling, including online poker. Additionally, in February 2013, Christie again vetoed New Jersey’s online gambling bill.
This time he said the bill needed a higher tax rate. Finally, changes were made and on Feb. 26, 2013, the Assembly and Senate passed a revised bill. Gov. Christie signed the bill into law later that same day, allowing New Jersey to become the third state in the nation to pass online poker legislation.
On Nov. 21, 2013, New Jersey allowed a synchronized soft launch of seven online casinos and six online poker sites owned, operated or affiliated with six of Atlantic City’s casinos.
The NJ online poker sites opening at the launch included:
In September 2014, Ultimate Poker shut down. In December 2014, Betfair shut down online poker operations as well.
However, the world’s leading online poker site PokerStars launched an NJ online poker site in March 2016 and immediately became market leaders.
Plus, in June 2017, the Pala Band of Mission Indians, which owns and operates the Pala Casino Resort and Spa in California and a New Jersey online casino site operating under Borgata’s internet gaming license, opened up its own online poker site using proprietary software.
Additionally, in August 2017, MGM launched a playMGM-branded online poker site operating under Borgata’s internet gaming license. The site shares player pools with Borgata and partypoker in New Jersey.