The 10 Most-Asked Questions About Legal NJ Online Gambling

Martin Derbyshire May 7, 2018 571 Reads
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Since New Jersey launched its online gambling market in 2013, there have been a lot of changes. The market has grown to almost two dozen NJ gambling websites including seven online poker sites and 16 online casinos.

Each NJ online gambling website has evolved over the last few years, too, offering new slot games, new innovations, and additional value for players. It can be a lot to take in, which is why here we answer the top 10 frequently asked questions about NJ online gambling.

1. Why is Golden Nugget the most successful online casino in NJ?

Golden Nugget is the top grossing online casino in New Jersey. In fact, it was the top revenue-generating online casino in the state every month throughout 2017. Plus, it kicked off 2018 setting a new monthly revenue record in January and becoming the first site to generate over $7 million in NJ online gambling revenue in a single month.

How has this site separated itself from the pack and continued to maintain its status as the top revenue-generating online casino in New Jersey?

Through choice. The site simply offers more of it than anyone else. In fact, Golden Nugget launched its 500th game in March 2018, giving it the largest and most diversified selection of online casino games in the New Jersey online gambling market. Golden Nugget already had more games than anyone else going into 2017, then it added 136 more new games throughout the year.

If its available in New Jersey, Golden Nugget has it. It’s the original home for Live Dealer games online. There’s really something for everyone and the wide selection of game titles means nothing is missing. There’s no reason to go to another online casino site in New Jersey because if Golden Nugget doesn’t have it, it doesn’t exist.

The huge selection of games helped the site post an 81 percent increase in total wagers in 2017. Over $1 billion in winnings was paid out to New Jersey players and the site only solidified its market-leading status.

A competitive bonus structure has helped continue to attract new players to the site as well. New players who sign up with Golden Nugget using the bonus code PLAY20 receive $20 free with no deposit necessary. They are also eligible to receive a 100 percent deposit match bonus up to $1,000 on their first deposit. This is one of the largest first deposit match bonus offers in the New Jersey online casino market today.

2. Why doesn’t Bally’s have an NJ online casino site?

There are currently seven operating casinos located in Atlantic City. Each runs at least one legal and regulated online casino except for one: Bally’s Atlantic City Hotel & Casino.

Bally’s opened in 1979 at the corner of Park Place and the Boardwalk. The property now includes two massive casinos with more than 220,000 square feet of gaming space and 5,000 slot machines. It’s owned by Caesars Entertainment alongside two other Atlantic City casino resorts: Caesars Atlantic City Hotel & Casino and Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City.

Caesars subsidiary Caesars Interactive Entertainment holds the NJ online gambling license for the property and owns and operates several online casino and poker sites. This includes a Caesars Casino and Harrah’s online casino site, but not a Bally’s Casino site.

Bally’s did get one of the original online casino licenses handed out by New Jersey gaming regulators. It was first used by Caesars Interactive Entertainment software partner 888 Holdings for its New Jersey online casino and poker sites.

However, Caesars Interactive Entertainment ultimately brought all its internet gambling licenses under a single umbrella. With Caesars, Harrah’s, WSOP NJ, and 888 NJ online casino branded sites already established, the company decided against launching a competing site under the Bally’s brand.

So, why doesn’t Bally’s have an online casino site in New Jersey? Because parent company Caesars doesn’t want to compete with itself online any more than it already does.

3. What makes Tropicana and Virgin online casinos different from one another?

The Tropicana and Virgin online casinos are basically carbon copies of one another. Both are run by online gambling operator and software developer Gamesys. Both run under Tropicana’s online gambling license in New Jersey.

Tropicana and Virgin use the same software, giving the sites the same functionality and an almost identical look and feel. The bonuses and promotions each site runs are basically the same as well.

The biggest differences are in branding and marketing. The name of the sites and color schemes are noticeably different. Plus, Tropicana and Virgin are each being packaged and sold to the public in a different manner.

While the games are mostly the same, the site’s do promise some exclusive content. The one game that comes to mind is Virgin’s Deal Or No Deal slot, which is exclusive to the site and has been used in exclusive marketing materials.

Both sites also run their own separate and distinct player loyalty programs.

4. What is geolocation and how does it work?

States with legalized and regulated online gambling require players be inside the state to play.

You don’t necessarily have to be a resident to sign up for an account, but state laws mandate players be inside state lines when they decide to sit down and play.

It’s the responsibility of online gambling operators to make sure this is the case. The method they use to do it is called geolocation. In fact, in most states, online gambling sites are required by law to use geolocation technology.

Geolocation is a global positioning system used to pinpoint a players’ approximate coordinates. It works through by IP address tracking and WiFi signal triangulation.

Most sites ask players to download and run a geolocation software plug-in on their computer.

The geolocation technology checks a player’s location when they first connect, and then occasionally as they continue to play.

5. Does PokerStars operate in NJ? And how does it compare to ROW PokerStars?

PokerStars is the largest online poker room in the world. It launched a New Jersey online poker site in March 2016. Only players inside New Jersey can access the site and it is not connected to the PokerStars global site. The player pools in New Jersey and the rest of the world are not shared.

PokerStars NJ is the market-leading operator in the relatively small NJ online poker market. The product is very similar to what’s offered globally, in terms of poker variants, games, structures, and formats. The big difference is the New Jersey site runs in a fenced-in market. PokerStars global runs several of the largest major tournament series in the world. Then, it runs smaller versions of a number of those series for New Jersey only on PokerStars NJ.

From a software perspective, PokerStars NJ is a solid version of the global product with similar functionality. It is equal in almost every way. PokerStars NJ is just a much smaller version of the world’s leading online poker site operating alone in the fenced-in New Jersey market. That means fewer players, fewer cash game options, fewer and smaller tournaments with significantly smaller prize pools.

The site operates under the Resorts Casino Hotel internet gambling license.

6. Which NJ online casino games have the best return-to-player?

Online casino games have a built-in house edge that makes them impossible to beat over the long haul. However, you can still get lucky playing them in the short term.

Plus, there are games with a reduced house edge that offer players the opportunity to win more often and enjoy a lower-variance casino gambling experience.

For online casino games, odds are expressed in something called a return to player rate (RTP). A game’s RTP is the opposite of its house edge. It’s the percentage of money wagered that will be paid back to players over time.

RTP is calculated as an average of at least 1,000 plays and indicates the long-term performance of a game.

If a game is said to have an RTP of 90 percent, for every $100 played, a player should expect to win back $90.

However, RTP is about long-term performance. Therefore, there’s no guarantee of the game immediately paying back $90 of the first $100 a player puts into it. A game’s RTP is only realized over the long run.

Most NJ online casinos publish the RTP for all their games. Here’s a list of the 10 online casino games with the best RTPs in New Jersey according to that data:

  • Single-deck Blackjack (Tropicana/Virgin): 99.87%
  • Deuces Wild Triple Play Draw Poker (Tropicana/Virgin): 99.73.%
  • High Stakes Blackjack (Virgin): 99.64%
  • Vegas Strip Blackjack (Tropicana/Virgin): 99.64%
  • Multi-Bet Blackjack (SugarHouse): 99.64%
  • Atlantic City Blackjack (Tropicana/Virgin): 99.64%
  • High Stakes Blackjack (Tropicana): 99.64%
  • Vegas Downtown Blackjack (Tropicana): 99.61%
  • SP Vegas Blackjack (Borgata/Partypoker): 99.6%
  • Vegas Blackjack (Golden Nugget/Caesars): 99.6%

Except for one, these are all blackjack games. However, some other online casino games in New Jersey offer favorable RTPs. That list includes:

  • French Roulette High Limit (Harrah’s): 98.65%
  • Craps (Pala/Tropicana/Betfair/Borgata/Virgin/Party): 98.64%
  • Texas Hold’em Bonus Poker (Borgata/Party): 97.96%
  • Pai Gow Poker (Tropicana/Virgin): 97.28%
  • Three Card Poker (Tropicana/Caesars/SugarHouse): 96.63%
  • Let it Ride (Golden Nugget/Tropicana/Caesars/SugarHouse): 96.49%
  • Hi-Lo (Virgin/Tropicana/Betfair): 96%
  • PokerBet (Betfair) 95%

7. When is Hard Rock opening in Atlantic City?

In April 2017, Hard Rock International partnered with New Jersey property developers The Morris Family and construction and energy developers The Jingoli Family to buy the recently shut down $1.2 billion Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City for $50 million. The group announced plans for a $375 million renovation and re-branding, turning it into the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City.

The company targeted Memorial Day 2018 as an opening date at first but has since announced an official opening date of June 28.

In the interim, the cost of the work at Hard Rock Atlantic City has ballooned to more than $500 million. It will include a casino with 2,400 slots and 130 table games. The plan also includes a complete renovation and redesign of every hotel room on the property. Plus, first-class food and beverage concepts and two separate arenas with more than 7,000 seats are being built.

8. And what about Ocean Resort Casino? When will it open?

The $2.4 billion Revel Hotel Casino shut its doors in September 2014 amid financial troubles.

After one purchase deal fell apart, Florida developer Glenn Straub bought Revel out of bankruptcy for $82 million in April 2015. He made plans to reopen it under the name TEN. Instead, he missed several reopening dates over the next two years while battling with state regulators over licensing issues.

Straub sold Revel to developers AC Ocean Walk in January 2018 for $200 million. AC Ocean Walk announced plans to re-brand as Ocean Resort Casino and re-open in the summer of 2018.

When it does open, Ocean Resort Casino will feature a 138,000-square-foot casino and 1,399-room hotel. There are plans to include 160,000 square feet of indoor meeting and convention space. Plus, another 90,000 square feet of flexible outdoor special event space.

Ocean Resort Casino will also feature five swimming pools, including a salt-water pool, and a sun deck with cabanas. There will be dining options from restaurant groups including Garces Group and LDV Hospitality and a full slate of entertainment options including day and nightclubs and a sports bar.

All indications are it will be ready to open in the summer of 2018.

9. Which online poker site is better in NJ: WSOP NJ or PartyPoker NJ?

WSOP.com is a World Series of Poker-branded New Jersey online poker room. It is owned and operated by Caesars Entertainment using software provided by the company’s online gambling partner 888.

The WSOP is one of poker’s most recognizable and respected brands and the site offers access to that, including satellites into live WSOP and WSOP Circuit events and even a WSOP Circuit ring event of its own as of Mach 2018.

PokerStars NJ was the largest poker site in the market in terms of traffic until just a week ago. The leaderboard in NJ online poker changed once shared liquidity finally became a reality. Players in NJ, Nevada, and Delaware can now play cash games on the same WSOP/888 network, making it the reigning traffic champ.

PokerStars offers a full slate of cash games, regular tournaments and seasonal series with guaranteed prize pools it has been able to meet.

PartyPoker NJ is GVC Holdings’ New Jersey online poker site running under the famous PartyPoker banner. The site runs under the Borgata internet gambling license and shares player pools with a network of sites including Borgata Poker and playMGM Poker.

Only the promotions and bonuses are different.

The site offers a full slate of cash games, regular tournaments and seasonal series with guaranteed prize pools. However, the series have been marred by technical problems, overlays, and cancellations in the past. As a result, they have been scaled down.

PartyPoker NJ has found success running satellites into live tournaments at Borgata alongside Borgata Poker. However, the network tends to be the smallest in the state in terms of traffic and has difficulty competing with WSOP/888 and PokerStars.

If an answer as to which online poker site is better is truly required, at this point, the answer would have to be WSOP.com.

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10. What is the best online blackjack in NJ?

Single-deck Blackjack at Tropicana and Virgin is the best blackjack game in the New Jersey online casino market. The game offers the highest return to player rate of any online casino game in the state. The RTP is an unbeatable 99.87 percent.

Single-deck Blackjack has always had a reputation as the game with the lowest house edge in most brick-and-mortar casinos. The same is true online in New Jersey. It’s basic blackjack. The big difference is it’s played with a single deck, instead of a six- or eight-deck shoe. This increases a player’s chance of winning, and provides for that huge RTP.

The game also feature the following rules:

  • Blackjack pays 3:2
  • Insurance pays 2:1
  • Dealer stands on a soft 17
  • Double down on a 9 to 11 only
  • Split only matching pairs, not value
  • Split only once
  • No double down on splits
  • Hit on split Aces
  • No surrender