The New Jersey online poker market has plenty of room for improvement heading into 2015, according the state’s Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE).
In a letter posted to the department’s website, DGE Director David Rebuck said that while there was plenty to be proud of in the first year of regulated online gambling in the Garden State, he’s also looking into ways to make the experience better for operators and players alike going forward.
In particular, Rebuck mentioned two areas where he foresees improvement in the year to come: payment processing and compacts with other jurisdictions.
“The Division has been in discussions with the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance and the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) to address the difficulties related to payment processing,” Rebuck wrote.
According to numbers provided by Rebuck, there are still many players having difficulty making deposits using credit and debit cards.
The DGE press release noted that about 73 percent of Visa transactions and 44 percent of MasterCard transactions are currently being approved, meaning that many players who want to deposit money into online poker sites are running into difficulty. However, that situation looks like it could improve in 2015.
“A new credit card code has been created for legal online gambling transactions and it is expected to be in effect spring of 2015,” Rebuck wrote. “As the banking industry becomes more familiar with legalized Internet gaming and patrons become more educated about the various options for funding their accounts, further improvements are expected in this area.”
One of the hottest topics in online poker is interstate compacts. Nevada and Delaware already have a player pool sharing agreement in place, though neither state has yet taken advantage of that opportunity. With New Jersey’s larger playing pool, they’d be an ideal partner for other states, or potentially even other nations, and Rebuck says that talks on that front are already underway.
“The legislation that authorized Internet gaming specifically permits the Division to enter into multi-jurisdictional agreements,” wrote Rebuck. “The Division has been in discussions with other jurisdictions, such as Nevada and the United Kingdom, but no compacts have been entered to date. The Division is open to discussions in this area and always seeks to ensure that any agreements are most beneficial to New Jersey’s Internet gaming industry.”
While Rebuck shared his vision for the future, he also took the time to look back at the first full year of online gambling in New Jersey. Many observers may have been disappointed by the small size of the market, but Rebuck said that his department saw Year One as a resounding success.
“From a regulatory standpoint, our system is working,” he wrote. “There have been no major infractions or meltdowns or any systematic regulatory failures that would make anyone doubt the integrity of operations.”
He also offered some statistics that gave insight into New Jersey’s position in the online poker market. According to a study by the University of Las Vegas Center for Gaming Research, the Garden State accounts for more than 90 percent of all regulated online gambling revenue in the United States.
While online casinos account for much of that, New Jersey is also a leader in poker: through October, the state’s sites brought in about 75 percent of all regulated Internet poker revenue in the USA.