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New Jersey Eyes Bill To Boost Online Poker

Legislation Would Allow Compacts With Other States, Countries

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New Jersey has been eyeing the possibility of linking up its internet gaming with other regulated markets basically ever since the state legalized the games in 2013.

Now, the man behind the efforts to launch online gaming in the first place is planning a new bill to allow certain online gamblers located outside of New Jersey to place bets on sites in the state’s rapidly growing online gaming market, which was $121 million through the first half of 2017. The bill would remove the rule that online gaming servers set up to run online games for those physically within New Jersey must be located within Atlantic City.

According to a report from the Associated Press, New Jersey Sen. Ray Lesniak hasn’t drafted the bill yet, but it’s in the works. New Jersey has reason to love online gambling, as the revenue from the games is largely responsible for Atlantic City reversing a decade of revenue declines.

Total Atlantic City gaming revenue during the first half of this year was $1.29 billion, up 3.5 percent compared to the $1.24 billion won during the same period last year.

The only other states in the U.S. with regulated online casino games are Nevada and Delaware, and they already share liquidity with one another.

Lesniak’s plans come about a year after reports that New Jersey and the United Kingdom are in talks to share liquidity for internet poker play. That could be one of the Garden State’s first international partners if Lesniak’s bill becomes law.

Earlier in 2016, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval said publicly that his state and New Jersey should share player pools. Sandoval reached the deal with Delaware in February 2014, but the arrangement hasn’t done much given the small populations of both states. Adding New Jersey into the mix would be a big boost.

Nevada’s online poker market is worth about $7 million a year, while in Delaware online poker generates only about $20,000 in revenue each month between three operators.

Liquidity sharing would likely also be great for New Jersey online poker. While the house-banked games are booming, peer-to-peer poker revenue of $12.58 million through June was 8.4 percent less than the rake from the first half of 2016.