Sports betting in New Jersey remains illegal, but that could all change in a matter of weeks. U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp was initially set to make a ruling on October 6th, but he postponed the final hearing to the last day of the month, Halloween, adding yet another level of suspense to the four year long crusade to make gambling on games legal in the Garden State.
After several failed appeals, the Christie administration found away to sidestep a federal law that prohibits sports betting in the Garden State. The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), enacted in 1992, bars states from licensing or regulating sports betting, with the exception of Nevada, Delaware, Montana, and Oregon, which were grandfathered under the act.
Ironically, one of New Jersey’s own senators sponsored PASPA, former professional basketball star Bill Bradley, who felt that sports gambling threatened the integrity of professional sports. The law gave New Jersey one year to decide whether Atlantic City would too be grandfathered in, but state lawmakers passed.
Twenty -two years later, New Jersey officials are working feverishly to reverse the work of their contemporaries, arguing that the law is a violation of state’s rights. Integrity aside, sports betting is widely viewed as the key to revitalizing the state’s struggling casinos and racetracks.
An Uphill Legal Battle
The legal battle to enact sports betting in New Jersey goes back to 2011 when the people of New Jersey overwhelmingly voted to legalize sports betting. The legislature followed by passing a bill that Governor Chris Christie signed into law in early 2012. The law would allow waged bets on all sporting events, with the exception of games involving New Jersey colleges and college games played in the state.
State officials believed the law would curb illegal sports betting and bring in millions of dollars in sports revenue.
However, sports league officials sued to block the law from taking effect. In a largely symbolic stand against legalized sports betting, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the National Football League, and the National Hockey League joined forces for the lawsuit.
The state lost to the leagues three times in federal court. The final appeal took place in September where the 3rd Circuit ruled against sports betting 2-1.
As a last ditch effort, lawmakers appealed to the nation’s highest court, hoping to prove that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act violates the 10th amendment, which allows states to regulate when the federal government does not.
When the Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal, State Senator Raymond Lesniak, sponsor of the original sports betting bill, hatched a new plan. He noticed a loophole in the federal law that only bans states from authorizing gambling. The federal law says nothing about New Jersey’s rights to repeal existing prohibition laws.
Accordingly, Lesniak introduced a bill to circumvent federal law by repealing old state laws that prohibited sports betting at casinos and horse tracks. The move would enable private companies to run sports betting operations, without state regulation.
Lesniak’s bill (S2250/A3476) cleared the state Senate and the Assembly, before Governor Chris Christie vetoed it. Instead, in early September, Christie shocked everyone with an apparent about-face. He ordered the Attorney General’s office not to prosecute casinos and racetracks if they offered sports betting unregulated by the state.
The move would essentially render federal law void by refusing to enforce it.
It’s a directive harkens back to New Jersey’s early gambling era, between 1894 and 1939, all gambling was illegal, but enforcement was spotty at best. Hence bookmaking, numbers games, and slot machines flourished.
As New Jersey’s gambling empire declines, state officials are pinning their hopes on sports betting. It seems to be the most viable way to counter increasing competition from nearby casinos in Pennsylvania and Connecticut. With all that money at stake, New Jersey has pumped millions of taxpayer money in its attempt to protect the future of gambling. $3.1 million went to outside law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, the same firm Christie hired to conduct his office’s internal investigation into the George Washington Bridge scandal.
If the federal court approves sports betting, racetracks and casinos will spring into action almost immediately. Monmouth Park Racetrack has indicated it will offer sports betting as soon as next month, given the legal okay.
But even if the Garden State gets the green light, sports leagues remain opposed. After Christie announced the directive to ignore federal law, the leagues and the NCAA filed a response that called Christie’s move “astounding,” “specious” and a “blatant violation”.
League officials fear that sports betting, like performance-enhancing drugs, would erode the integrity of American athletics, motivating players and referees to throw games. Those concerns are not without just cause. The World Cup, an international sporting event that attracts millions of dollars in illegal wagers, has come under frequent scrutiny for suspicious outcomes. Following the 2014 games, officials launched an investigation into seven players from Cameroon.
Lucrative player salaries in the pro-leagues dissuade athletes from cooperating with gambling syndicates, but at the college level, where there is no pay, the threat of fixed games is still very real, even without legalized gambling.
However, money talks, and could turn even the strongest opposition into supporters. Already the NBA’s commissioner David Silver acknowledged that there is a potential silver lining in sports betting. At the Bloomberg Business Summit in New York last month, he said, “If you have a gentleman’s bet or a small wager on any kind of sports contest, it makes you that much more engaged in it. That’s where we’re going to see it pay dividends. If people are watching a game and clicking to bet on their smart phones… then it’s much more likely you’re going to stay tuned for a long time.”
For now, the biggest scare this Halloween would be a ruling against sports betting. For lawmakers, it would be back to square one in regards to finding a new cure-all for an ailing industry.
The New Jersey online gambling market has plenty of competition and a market size well below initial projections, so we shouldn’t be too surprised to see that there’s not enough room for 10 major sites to profitably co-exist. The first major casualty is Ultimate Gaming, who announced they are pulling out of the market after accusing the Trump Taj Mahal of breaching their contract on several counts.
Tom Breitling, chairman of Ultimate Gaming, also confirmed they are working closely with the New Jersey DGE and ensuring the safety of player funds:
“We are grateful to the state of New Jersey and the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement for allowing us to be one of the first companies to bring online gaming to the citizens of New Jersey and appreciate their leadership as one of the first states to allow online gaming… We are working closely with the Division of Gaming Enforcement to ensure a smooth transition for our online gaming customers as we wind down our New Jersey operations.”
Trump Entertainment Resorts has been on a bit of a downward spiral as they also recently announced the closing of the Trump Plaza casino, thereby leaving the question of what will happen to their other partner, Betfair’s NJ online casino.
Betfair and Ultimate Casino have garnered year to date profits of just $5 million, good for last place in the New Jersey market. While some may consider this a sign of the failures of the new NJ internet gambling regulations, we suggest that this is part of the necessary growing pains of a new, developing industry. Small state-wide gambling markets cannot support so many competing firms, and market consolidation is part of a natural progression towards a robust, lasting industry.
Jackpot! In the months since legal online gambling went live in New Jersey, we’ve had some big winners. Despite what some jaded players say, the casinos aren’t the only ones who’ve hit it big in Jersey. Players like poker champ MikeFrancesa (a username, not the actual sports talk show host) who walked away from the New Jersey Championship of Online Poker in April with $33,577 and the lucky slots player who won $153,638.75 at Borgata’s website in January prove that if you’re in it, you’ve got a real chance to win it.
And plenty of people are in it. By May 2014, there were more than 350,000 online gambling accounts registered with New Jersey’s casinos.
MikeFrancesa and The New Jersey Championship of Online Poker
The New Jersey Championship of Online Poker (NJCOP) was held from April 21st through April 27th at nj.partypoker.com and borgatapoker.com. More than $600,000 worth of prize money was advertised for the tournament, which drew in a crowd of more than 1,400 players. During the five-day span, there were fifteen tournaments. On Sunday, the 27th, these tournaments culminated in the final $200,000 Guaranteed Main Event, which drew almost 900 players. Once the game was over, MikeFrancesa came in first with $33,577 in winnings, followed by cb123579 with $26,459; MotherOfDragons with $23,164; and PocketSomun with $20,000.
Elsewhere during the New Jersey Championship of Online Poker, users soduediligent and glytterpyss won the $30,000 Guaranteed High Roller tournament with $36,185.89 and $23,099.61, respectively. Others took in three and four-figure earnings from smaller tournaments.
Drawing in the Out of State Crowd
It’s only the beginning for New Jersey’s poker tournament scene, but it’s a hot one, drawing crowds from out of state. Approximately 15% of PartyPoker’s registered users reside outside of New Jersey and come to the state to engage in what’s known as Poker Tourism. For Caesar’s spokesman Seth Palansky, this figure is encouraging. “For Atlantic City to rebound, we need to attract players from outside the state to have reason to come visit again,” he said. “To get them to sign up for our Total Rewards program and start gaining loyalty points will pay off for both our land-based and online businesses over the long term.”
As we move forward and if more states legalize online gambling, we might start to see interstate tournaments being held by Atlantic City’s online casinos. Online poker has a huge player base and future tournaments can only help build New Jersey’s casinos’ credibility as the premier poker tournament hosts.
Winning Big on Slots
Among online gamblers, poker is regarded as more fair to players than other games, such as slots, because of the skill involved. However, the odds of winning on an online slot machine are required by law to be identical to the odds of winning on a physical slot machine in a brick and mortar casino. The Casino Control Act, N.J.S.A. 5:12, states this in Article 6c. With this law in place, the percentage of winnings and the number of winners is the same in both types of slot game.
Despite this, many players are distrustful of online slot machines because they don’t know about this law or think it’s easier to be scammed by a computer (hint: it’s not. Modern slot machines are computers, which means that they can be programmed to be as “loose” or as “tight” as their manager wishes, all the same as a slot machine application on your computer.)
The Monmouth County man who won $153,638.75 on the progressive online slot “Going Nuts,” might have the highest reported online slot winnings, but he’s not alone. In March, another Monmouth County man won $84,300.00 on borgatacasino.com. He, like January’s big slots winner, chose to remain anonymous. Between these online winners and the big $655,852.28 win at Borgata’s brick and mortar casino in March, I think I know where I’ll be playing next time.
Still, The House is the Biggest Winner
Winning is what keeps people playing. The occasional jackpot makes all the losses worthwhile for players, giving them that little glimmer of hope that it could happen to them, too, someday. When a player hits it big and makes it onto the news, like user MikeFrancesa or the unnamed six-figure Borgata slots player, the entire industry wins because other players and non-gamblers alike see that win and think, “hey, that could be me.”
It’s the same principle that drives casinos to fill their halls with the raucous echo of winnings and convenience store owners to photocopy winning lottery tickets and tape them to their store’s front doors and windows. It’s free advertising based on real consumer experiences — the best kind of advertising. Without these organic success stories, the gambling industry’s pull on players wouldn’t have half its strength. Just like with table games, the house always comes out ahead. In cases like these, “the house” refers to the industry as a whole.
Press of Atlantic City reports that New Jersey lawmakers have overwhelmingly voted in favor of legalizing sports betting at NJ casinos and race tracks. While Governor Christie has pushed for sports betting approval in the past, he has not stated whether or not he will support this bill.
The writing of the bill seeks to “repeal prohibitions against sports wagering at racetracks and casinos in New Jersey.” The bill garnered an impressive 38 out of 39 votes in the Senate and passed the Assembly 63-6-2.
Only a few years ago New Jersey voters approved local state-sanctioned sports betting. However, all of the major sports leagues sued on the basis that sports betting would ruin the integrity of their games. After several appeals, the Supreme Court finally denied NJ just over a week ago.
Though Governor Christie recently said it’s time to move on, it looks as though other lawmakers aren’t ready to give up so easy. Stay tuned, and we will keep you updated on this developing story.
When you gamble, it’s a whole lot more likely that you’ll lose than win in the long run. Those are just the odds, no matter what you’re playing. But have you ever wondered where that money goes once it’s out of your hands? Who’s using it? Is it being won back by more fortunate players, or is it just going right to the casino owner’s pocket?
There’s more than one answer to all of these questions. Because gambling in New Jersey is state-sanctioned and supported, a large portion of the money goes back to the government and is used to fund public projects. Just how much of the money and which public projects depends on whether you lost it in a casino or in the New Jersey lottery.
Giving Back to New Jersey
In the 1970s, when New Jerseyans were polled about whether or not to allow legal casino gambling in the state, proponents heavily pushed how much such a move would benefit citizens in need of financial assistance. For any corruption or promotion of unhealthy behaviors that legal gambling would bring, it was difficult to ignore the many financial rewards that would also be gained.
Casino lobbyists hammered this point home to the voting block that would benefit the most from state-sanctioned casino gambling — the senior citizens and the disabled. New Jersey voters weighed the bad against the good, and in 1961, the bill to create the New Jersey lottery was passed, followed by the bill to allow casino gambling in 1976.
It’s for the Elderly
In 1976, the Casino Control Act was enacted to create and regulate casinos in New Jersey. When it was passed, it stipulated that the new casinos be taxed at a rate of 15% of their total profit. The money raised by taxing casinos would then be put into the Casino Revenue Fund, which is used to offset utility, rental, telephone, and property tax costs for disabled and elderly New Jersey residents. Two years later, this tax rate was reduced to 8%.
The Casino Revenue Fund is managed by the Casino Control Commission, which in turn, falls under the jurisdiction of the Division of Gaming Enforcement. In the following decades, the group in charge of maintaining and administering the fund re-organized many times, but the group’s purpose remained the same: to ensure that state money raised by taxing Atlantic City’s casinos would reach the New Jersey residents who needed it.
In 1981, the Casino Control Act was again amended to further emphasize the focus of the Casino Revenue Fund, and in 1985, the Casino Revenue Fund Task Force was created. This was to combat misuse of the funds and ensure that they would reach the people who needed them, the people who might otherwise be without heat or shelter.
In 1992, the Casino Revenue Advisory Commission was created to study how the money would be best used and make recommendations for its future usage. This commission, unlike those before it, includes six members who directly receive assistance from the fund: three senior citizens and three people with disabilities. By 1998, the 8% tax on casinos was bringing in $300 million every year.
It’s For the Children
It isn’t only the casinos that generate income for our state’s public programs. That money you lost on a scratch-off isn’t completely a wash. When you lose money on the New Jersey lottery, you’re giving that money to our state’s public schools. 34.20% of your losses, in fact.
The New Jersey lottery is the fourth largest revenue producer in the state. Since its inception, the lottery has produced more than $22 billion dollars in revenue for New Jersey’s state and community colleges and universities, school nutrition program, Department of Human Services, the Marie Katzenbach School for the Deaf, and other public organizations.
It’s for Atlantic City
Casino parking fees are also redistributed to the community. In Atlantic City, $3.00 from every parking space’s fee is divided between the Casino Revenue Fund and the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority.
The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority is a commission that works to reinvest money earned through the casinos back into affordable housing for the people of Atlantic City. Since 1984, nearly $2 billion have been raised and redistributed this way.
And Of Course, It’s for the Winners
In the New Jersey lottery, most of the money raised is distributed back to winning players. 59.20% of it is returned this way, giving regular players an incentive to continue playing. This is the largest percentage of all the beneficiaries of the money raised by the New Jersey lottery.
Profits for Retailers and the Lottery Employees
Profits are far behind the winners and beneficiaries of the New Jersey lottery. At 5.6% of the total money raised, lottery retailers like liquor and convenience stores take their commission. Behind them are the people who actually make the lottery possible. This is the contractors and administrators, the people who are designing lottery games, advertising them to the people, and distributing the prizes. Their takeaway from the total money brought in is only 2.51%.
After paying their taxes, staff, and utilities, the money made by casinos goes right into their owners’ pockets. These profits are carefully documented by the Division of Gaming Enforcement and the records are available to view online.
It’s for Society
Taxes are an inevitable part of life. They supply the funding for society. Just like the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife supports conservation efforts with money raised through the sale of hunting and fishing licenses and beach badge fees go toward lifeguards’ salaries and dune replenishment programs, the tax money raised from gambling in New Jersey is used to help support government programs.
Without these programs in place, the people of New Jersey would suffer from a significant lack of resources. When you gamble and directly support our public schools and assistance programs for the elderly and disabled, you’re taking an active role in building our society.
Pokerstars was barred from entering the New Jersey online gaming market last November due to a “bad actor” clause aimed at preventing online gaming platforms that had previously ignored the warnings of the 2006 UIGEA.
In 2011, Pokerstars came to a settlement with the US DOJ after being charged with money laundering, bank fraud, and other gambling related charges. Pokerstars admitted no wrongdoing at that time.
Pokerstars’ first attempt at entering the New Jersey market was foiled in late 2013 when their purchase offer for the Atlantic club fell through. And in December, the DGE issued Rational Services Limited (Pokerstars’ parent company) a 2-year suspension from acquiring a gaming license in NJ.
One of the primary elements of this suspension was the 2011 indictment of Isai Scheinberg by the DOJ and his refusal to travel to the US to face charges.
However, they may have just found a new way into the NJ market. A deal has been reached for Amaya Gaming Group Inc. to purchase Pokerstars’ and Full Tilt Poker’s parent company for $4.9 Billion. In this unprecedented move, Isai Scheinberg will reportedly step down from his position, removing a major obstacle for Pokerstars’ acceptance in the US market.
It’s too soon to tell how early Pokerstars may be available to New Jersey, but stay tuned and we’ll keep you updated!
The New Jersey Attorney General has issued direct warnings to several major online gambling affiliate sites via its Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE). The letter, first published by another affiliate, states that “If websites are offering [unauthorized] gaming to residents of New Jersey, they are violating criminal provisions of the Act.” It further states that this violation may result in a fine of no more than $100,000.
The letter says that promoting offshore, unregulated gambling sites is “activity that is contrary to New Jersey and federal law.” What it fails to address is how this affects affiliate sites located outside of New Jersey and outside of the United States. Are such marketers expected to block their content from reaching citizens of New Jersey?
According to a statement from DGE spokeswoman Kerry Langan, “We believe this may either taint legitimate sites by associating them with the illegal ones, and conversely may lend the appearance that these illegal sites are affiliated with authorized sites.” Translation: “Revenues have been sorely disappointing, and we want to remove the competition of our local casinos.”
While it’s certainly logical to do everything in their power to eliminate the unregulated foreign competitors, regulators appear to have missed the bigger picture: they have made it too difficult for affiliates to promote the legal sites. That is why many choose to continue promoting illegal sites.
Our website, njgamblingwebsites.com, has been waiting over 2 months for our vendor license to be approved by the DGE! We are committed to promote only legal gambling sites, but we are paying a heavy price that other affiliates clearly aren’t willing to pay.
All of their red tape for affiliates coupled with NJ’s small market size makes it impossible for webmasters to do business exclusively with them. The offshore, unregulated sites typically serve most of the entire world, generating a global market infinitely more profitable than the small, teetering Jersey market.
As of this posting, none of the warned websites have removed the links to the “illegal”, unregulated gambling sites.
April 2014 was the first month that New Jersey’s casinos reported a drop in profits since legalized online gambling began in the state in November 2013. This drop came after a steady month-by-month increase in profits that still fell short of Governor Christie and the New Jersey State Treasurer’s initial projected earnings for the state. When he signed the bill allowing New Jersey gamblers to access legal online casinos, Governor Christie set a goal of $1 billion in revenue from online gambling in its first year. By April, only $27 million had come in.
Why So Short of the Goal?
It’s not that New Jersey’s gamblers are unaware that they can easily log into well-known casinos from the comfort of their own homes. Advertisements on the radio, television, internet and along our major roadways have made sure of that. So what’s the problem? Why aren’t New Jersey gamblers flocking to their desktops and grabbing their tablets to get in on the fun? I recently posted this question on two New Jersey-focused internet forums and got back fairly consistent answers.
Distrust of the Games
New Jersey’s gamblers have a strong collective distrust of the odds of winning in an online casino. In a physical casino setting, all the card games are played with an actual deck of cards and dealt by a human dealer right in front of the players’ eyes. One responder said this is the only way they play card games.
Because this isn’t possible on the internet, websites use random number generators to create hands and spreads, and that makes some players wary. The concern that many people who answered had was that websites could program their generators to give the house more of an advantage by giving players lousy hands more frequently than they’d occur with an actual deck of cards.
This is how modern slot machines work — they can be programmed to pay out a jackpot at specific spin intervals. This is why many gamblers who consider themselves to be more serious players tend to avoid slot machines both on and offline. The prospect of a blackjack or poker table operating like a slot machine is a turn-off to players.
Their Concerns are Unfounded
According to an IT architect for one of the casino companies, players shouldn’t worry about being ripped off by a website’s random number generator.
“I can say it is very tightly controlled and regulated,” the architect said, “Anyone afraid of getting cheated or suckered: fear not, at least for those sites hosted in NJ. You have just as much chance winning there as in a real casino.”
Because the online casinos that operate in New Jersey are all affiliated with physical casinos in Atlantic City, they are held to the same standards as the brick and mortar operations. The New Jersey Casino Control Commission regulates the gambling industry in the state, ensuring that all games are held to a standard level of fairness.
A Lack of Boundaries
Some responders said that they choose not to gamble online because it’s too easy. A traditional casino requires a car or bus ride, which requires gas, tolls, fare, and parking, all of which limit the number of visits a player can make to a casino. This physical separation is important to players, especially those who have had problems with compulsive gambling or a family history of addictive behavior. Being able to just log in and spend money straight from their bank accounts brings the casinos a little too close for these players’ comfort.
Other gamblers simply enjoy the casino experience. The sounds, sights, and endless cocktails are all part of the ambiance of Atlantic City casinos, creating a unique atmosphere that no website can replicate.
Old Problems, No New Solutions
Some of the players also cited geolocation problems as a reason why they don’t gamble online in New Jersey. Back in November, lots of New Jersey gamblers found themselves locked out of casino websites because the required geolocation software didn’t recognize that they were physically within New Jersey’s borders. This problem is being corrected by improved geolocation software, but it still leaves some players unable to log in.
Having to download software and then be kicked out of poker rooms mid-game because of geolocation problems has been incredibly frustrating for some players, to the point that some have completely given up on trying to gamble online in New Jersey. Other responders cited slow performance and a poorly-designed interface as the reasons why they don’t gamble online.
A Little Better Regard for Online Poker
Across the board, responders had a more favorable opinion of online poker. This could be because online poker has existed for more than fifteen years. It’s familiar — people have been playing and winning long enough for any wariness of it to subside. Now that it’s legal and regulated in New Jersey, seasoned poker players have even less to be worried about. Responders liked that they can make secure deposits and cash outs in New Jersey’s online poker rooms and many reported winning money from playing poker online.
Poker, unlike other casino games, involves skill along with luck. It draws a different clientele from other casino games because it can be played competitively. One of the poker players who responded liked that playing poker online is less expensive than playing in a casino and enjoys playing poker regularly.
Nobody guessed that the response to legal online gambling in New Jersey would be so underwhelming. Nevada and Delaware are the only other states that currently allow online gambling, and Nevada differs from the other two because it only allows online poker – not slots or other games. Both New Jersey and Delaware are far behind their projected profits. Nevada hasn’t released data yet about its online gambling revenue.
Legal online gambling was supposed to be one of the wires that would jump-start Atlantic City’s comeback, but New Jersey players have given their response: they don’t trust it, they can’t access it, and they’re slow to adapt. Online gambling is still very new in New Jersey and an underwhelming initial response does not mean it is a complete failure.
As I gathered from my polls, one of the biggest obstacles online gambling sites face is the public’s distrust of them. As more players give online gambling a chance and start to win jackpots through these websites, the stigma could begin to diminish. Trust has to be built organically, and the best way for New Jersey’s online casinos to build their audience’s trust is to be the best at what they do by delivering a safe, convenient, fun experience for their players.
Thanks to the internet, our world is changing rapidly. Now you can do anything online, from paying your bills to finding your true love. Activities that once required pants, shoes, and leaving your house can now be done from the comfort of your own couch — including gambling.
New Jersey’s 2013 online gambling law changed the way we play in the Garden State. As a fast-paced bellwether state, New Jersey has always been on the cutting edge of gambling culture and legislation in the United States.
Now, New Jersey players are embracing online gambling, realizing all the ways it differs from spending time in physical casinos.
The following are five of the things that set New Jersey online casinos and poker rooms apart from traditional Atlantic City casino gaming.
For a lot of players, these differences make gambling online out to be the more desirable option – it’s like gambling in a casino without all the annoyances that the actual casino brings.
1. There Are No Crowds
At home, it’s all you. There’s no waiting to get on the only Kitty Glitter in the place – you want Kitty Glitter, you get to have Kitty Glitter all to yourself — kindergarten-level social skills be damned. Playing alone in the comfort of your home also avoids these aggravations:
- No secondhand cigarette smoke to inhale.
- Conversely, no dirty looks if you’re the one producing the cigarette smoke.
- Nobody else watching you play like it’s some kind of spectator sport.
- What line at the bill breaker? There is no need for bill breaker when you’re online.
Nobody’s nudging you off a loose slot or screwing up your blackjack game against the dealer. You’ve got peace and quiet without having to wait in line for anything. And if you want a crowd in your home, you can hand-select that crowd. You get to decide who comes, when they come, and when you want the crowd to leave. That’s what I call crowd control!
2. No Head Games
As we mentioned in one of my recent articles, casinos are in the business of screwing with people. You’re there to make them money, and they’re going to do all they can to squeeze every last dime out of you.
It’s not enough that carpets from a clown’s garage sale are trying to make your eyes bleed because you can’t keep track of your money as easily when your vision receptors are trying to interpret their pattern. It goes beyond that. Inside a casino, the lack of clocks and windows shut you off from the outside world. It’s like a dungeon of glitz and confusion.
At home, you can bask in the sunlight while you’re betting against the house. Sit outside, inside, wherever you care to, completely free of manipulation.
In a lot of ways, gambling at home is safer than gambling in a casino. As we mentioned in the previous entry, you’re free from all the distractions that casinos use to take your money more efficiently. You control the environment you’re playing in when you’re at home, and control of a situation brings safety within it.
Although entering your credit card and other personal banking information into a gambling website can seem risky, it is actually very safe to gamble online in New Jersey. There have been no reported cases of major security breaches in New Jersey’s online casinos or fraudulent gambling websites targeting naïve players since the state legalized online gambling in 2013.
And let’s face it: Atlantic City isn’t the safest place in the Garden State. Granted, you can greatly reduce your risk of falling victim to crime if you choose to stay hidden inside your resort and by traveling with a group when you do venture out. If you drive into Atlantic City and park on the street, you could come back to a broken window and missing valuables. This is much less likely to happen in the security of your own neighborhood.
The most controversial safety aspect that online gambling brings is safety from yourself. One can argue that in front of the computer screen, it’s easy to sit and play for hours, losing track of what you spend. It definitely is easy. But it’s just as easy to take advantage of most online casinos’ lockout features, which self-aware players can use to limit their time on the website to a set amount of time or money spent. In a physical casino, there’s no such feature. Instead, there’s a cacophony of payouts, lights, excitement, ATMs, and credit officers ready to help you set up a line of credit with the house.
It’s a control thing. At home, a little self-control goes very far.
The previous entries all have one thing in common that makes gambling online better than gambling in a noisy, crowded, brick and mortar casino: privacy.
In an online casino, you play alone with an the automated dealer. Okay, it’s you, the automated dealer, other players if you’re playing poker, and maybe the NSA, but that’s beside the point. The point is, you’re free to play at your own pace, wagering as much or as little as you want and referring to gaming guides in other windows in your browser, free of judgment and distraction.
Like the safety feature, privacy in an online casino is often a double-edged sword. Yes, you’re free from others watching you play, but that means you’re also free from help if you need it. When nobody’s watching, it’s easier to become addicted to the convenience that online gambling brings and bet far more than you normally would. Which brings us to our final point:
Play slots while you’re waiting at the doctor’s office. Play blackjack while you’re standing in line at the supermarket. Win big on poker at your brother’s wedding.
No, don’t do the last one. But the point is, you can. New Jersey’s online casinos make it easy to play your favorite card games and slots anywhere in the state as long as you have internet access. Play in your pajamas. Play while your video’s buffering. There’s no trip out, no parking, no bus tickets, no hassle.
Think about it – when you gamble online, you get to skip the tolls or bus fare to get to Atlantic City and the parking fee if you’re not a privileged member of the casino you’re playing in. It’s all right there for you on your phone, computer or tablet, ready for you to sign in and start playing.
Better or Just Newer?
Better. Welcome to the future. Online casinos can’t replicate that real-live experience, and in a lot of ways, that’s a good thing.
New Jersey state police have made their first arrest related to online gambling. Diana Zolla, of Jackson Township, is accused of theft by deception, claiming her identity was stolen after racking up $9,565 in debt from gambling and banking fees.
31-year-old Zolla tried to avoid paying the debt by asserting that someone else had used her maiden name to steal her identity and create an online gambling account with it. But in a three month investigation, authorities reviewed online gambling, banking, and internet service provider records, determining Zolla created and operated the account associated with the gambling debt.
Zolla will face her charges in Atlantic County Superior Court.