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March 2, 2017

Why Are New Jersey Online Casinos Outperforming Online Poker By Such Wide Margins?

March 2, 2017
legal NJ online poker casinos

This is an interesting question and one that doesn’t have an objective answer. We can only speculate as to the reasons that New Jersey online casinos are outperforming online poker so drastically. In our opinion, the most likely cause is the lack of a large base of poker players within the state.

The problem comes down to liquidity

When you play on a site like BetfairCasino.com, you don’t need to have other people playing the games along with you. You can simply log in to your account and start playing a slot machine, table game, or video poker. In other words, the action is always available, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

This is not always the case on some of the poker sites New Jersey offers. For example, if the game you really want to play is High Stakes Limit Razz, chances are you are going to have a difficult time finding someone to play the game along with you. For this reason, someone craving high stakes action might veer toward the casino side of things, rather than find a lower stakes game or other form of poker.

When it comes to poker rooms, action breeds action. Once players go to a site a few times and they are unable to find the action they want, they will start to look elsewhere. If the action is always going, they will continue to come back and play.

Poker lacks the jackpots of casinos, but that may be changing

Another possible reason why New Jersey online casinos consistently out-perform the state’s online poker is the lack of huge payouts on the poker sites. For the cost of a cup of coffee, players can log on to a site like VirginCasino.com or TropicanaCasino.com and play progressive slots (read all of our NJ online casino reviews here). If they happen to get lucky, there is a chance players can walk away with thousands of dollars in their pocket.

With a lack of players and small turnouts for online poker tournaments, this opportunity is not as available on the poker side of things. Fortunately, PokerStarsNJ.com has come up with a way to compete.

The PokerStarsNJ.com’s Spin & Go’s are a form of poker in which a three-handed turbo Sit n’ Go-style tournament is played: the difference being a portion of the prize pool goes into a pool. Once all the players are seated in the tournament, a wheel spins and the amount of the first place prize is chosen at random. First place in these tournaments can be anywhere from twice to 10,000x the initial buy-in.

The two largest poker sites at the time of this writing are PokerStarsNJ.com and WSOP.com. If Texas Hold’em or Omaha are your games, there are always games going. Both of these sites offer great welcoming packages as well. PokerStarsNJ.com will give players a 100-percent match bonus up to $600 for first-time depositors (bonus code STARS600), and WSOP.com offers a 100-percent match bonus up to $400.

One way that poker could challenge casinos …

For online poker to really take off and start competing with online casinos, interstate player pooling would need to take place. This would dramatically increase the number of games, increase the prize pools in tournaments, and make for a much better gaming experience overall.

At the time if this writing, efforts are already being made to share player pools with other states, and possibly even other countries. New Jersey wants to serve as a regulatory hub for other US states in the process of legalizing online gambling. New Jersey Gambling Enforcement director David Rebuck promoted these aspirations at the East Coast Gaming Congress in May 2015 and has engaged in several conversations with regulators from the UK over the issue of sharing player pools.

With these efforts in place, we look forward to New Jersey online poker competing more effectively with online casinos in the near future.

Icahn Sells Trump Taj Mahal To Hard Rock International

March 2, 2017
Hard Rock AC

Carl Icahn’s troubled tenure as the owner of Atlantic City’s Trump Taj Mahal is drawing to a close. The billionaire announced he is selling the shuttered property to Hard Rock.

The sale comes 13 months after Icahn acquired the Taj Mahal after the resort declared bankruptcy. Icahn announced his intention to sell last month.

The property ceased operations in October 2016 following a lengthy battle with the local union. It has not reopened since, but the Hard Rock Cafe on property continues to operate on the site.

Property will be first Hard Rock casino in New Jersey

Last fall, Hard Rock was a key proponent of the voter referendum to allow casinos in northern New Jersey. The company wanted to open a casino adjacent to the Meadowlands Race Track.

The referendum was voted down by a wide margin. Hard Rock CEO Jeff Allen reaffirmed the company’s commitment to a casino next to the NFL stadium that hosts the New York Giants and New York Jets.

“We’re committed to the state of New Jersey for the long term,” Allen said.

The CEO worked in the Atlantic City gaming scene before moving to the global restaurant, hotel and casino company. It only makes sense then that the Hard Rock purchase a property in the only town in New Jersey where casinos are currently allowed.

Icahn wants to focus on Tropicana

Allen did not yet have a comment about the sale. Icahn explained his rationale behind giving up on the property. He says he wants to focus on the Tropicana:

“We at IEP are extremely happy with our ownership of the Tropicana Casino & Resort, and after considerable analysis and deliberation we determined that we only wanted to own one operating casino property in Atlantic City. A sale of the Taj Mahal therefore represents the optimal outcome for us. We wish Hard Rock and its partners the best of luck with the Taj Mahal.”

The troubles for Icahn and the Taj began almost immediately after acquiring the Taj Mahal. Icahn pledged to invest up to $100 million to save the struggling property. He went on to allegedly put $350 million in the property, but refused to use union laborers. The employees went on strike in July, no compromise could be reached, and the property shut its doors.

Even after the casino closed, Icahn’s troubles continued. New Jersey lawmakers passed a measure to revoke the gaming license of any casino that closed for a portion of 2016. Icahn and the Taj Mahal were the only parties affected by the measure.

Gov. Chris Christie vetoed the law, but Icahn rallied against Senate President Sean Sweeney, the bill’s sponsor, for his vindictive legislation and vowed to sell the property.

Icahn previously surrendered his gaming license and filed a deed restriction on the property requiring any buyers intending to operate it as a casino pay an extra fee. There is no word yet on whether or not the deed restriction was in place for the Hard Rock sale.

Brighter future on the horizon for the Taj Mahal

None other than Sweeney wished the new owners luck with the venture. He did so getting in some not-so-subtle digs at Icahn.

“This deal is welcome news, not just for the 2,000 union workers who can look forward to greater job security and a hopefully healthier working relationship with management, but also for the greater Atlantic City region as a whole,” Sweeney told the Press of Atlantic City.

The purchase is good news for the Hard Rock Cafe in AC, which continues to operate on the otherwise closed property. The restaurant was losing millions by remaining in operation.

The casino sale comes on the heels of news of a strong month for casino revenues in New Jersey, with record-breaking online gambling numbers. Hard Rock does not have any existing affiliation with an online gaming operator at present, but that could change.

Image credit: Capture Light / Shutterstock.com

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