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Matt Kaufman

Matt Kaufman

Matt Kaufman is an online gambling industry analyst and entrepreneur based in Las Vegas, Nevada. An avid poker player, Matt has a background both in editing online gambling publications and as well as in game development.

About Matt Kaufman

Matt Kaufman is an online gambling industry analyst and entrepreneur based in Las Vegas, Nevada. An avid poker player, Matt has a background both in editing online gambling publications and as well as in game development.

Here are my most recent posts

Can Table Games At Legal NJ Online Casino Websites Be Trusted?

Matt Kaufman November 16, 2016 0 comments
can you trust NJ gambling sites online

The short answer to this question is a resounding, “YES!”

Since the beginning of online gaming, players have worried whether or not online casinos offering table games could be trusted.

After a particularly bad run at online roulette, a player may ask him or herself a series of questions.

Would I have lost if I was playing at a live table? How do I know that the spin of the wheel is in fact random? Are online table games rigged?

On Feb. 26, 2013, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, signed A2578 into law.

This new law allowed any casino operating legally in Atlantic City to spread games of chance over the internet. These games included slots, video poker, blackjack, craps, roulette and a myriad of other table games offered in the live casinos that line the Atlantic City boardwalk.

How do NJ online casinos provide security?

In order to keep things on the up and up, software companies are required to partner with already existing brick and mortar casinos in Atlantic City, NJ.

They are required to license their online casinos through the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement and in doing so are required to follow all laws that govern their Atlantic City casino counterparts.

Employees of the NJ online casinos are even required to go through the same financial and criminal background checks as casino employees.

But what about the software itself? Let’s take a look at one of the leading New Jersey online casinos and see how they do things.

What safety precautions do New Jersey online gambling providers take?

In 2013, after online gambling was made legal in the state of New Jersey, Virgin Casino partnered with the Tropicana Casino. The company employed one of the top iGaming companies in the industry, Gamesys Ltd, to supply their gaming software.

Gamesys Ltd is known throughout the world as one of the most reputable software companies in the business.

The company’s website states that the outcome of all games is determined by a random number generator to ensure fair play and honest payouts. It also states that all games are extensively tested and reviewed by the operating companies before release.

All games Gamesys Ltd creates have clear and concise game rules which are easily visible and, where appropriate, the payout tables are displayed within the respective game console. The company even goes so far as to conduct daily and monthly audits to ensure that all individual games perform within the expected bounds of appropriate gaming performance.

Now, this is only one company out of many that create gaming software for the New Jersey online table games, but the regulations in place governing all the different software companies remain the same.

They must be licensed and they must ensure fair game play.

Do online casino operators have an incentive to ‘fix’ games?

The gambling industry has nothing to gain from fixing online table games.

In fact the opposite is true. If evidence that an online casino’s table games were fixed was to be released to the general public, the financial ramifications for that company would be disastrous.

As a player you can be absolutely sure that all of your online table gaming play is being run on the level. In fact, due to the random number generators employed by online casinos in the operation of their table games, the results tend to be more random than the results that take place in brick and mortar casinos around the world.

Live players must make do with human error and slight variations in physical gaming devices whereas online players end up with a fair and secure gaming experience every time.

Image credit: JPstock / Shutterstock, Inc.

Is There Legal Online Sports Betting In New Jersey?

Matt Kaufman November 14, 2016 0 comments
NJ sports betting online legal
At the time of this writing, (November 2016) sports betting in New Jersey is still illegal.

Although New Jersey has some of the least restrictive gambling laws in the United States, despite the state’s many efforts, it has been unable to legalize sports betting.

In January of 2012, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed legislation that allowed for sports betting in New Jersey. After the law was voted in by a 2-to-1 margin on a voter referendum held during November of 2011, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement issued regulations for sports betting.

The law permitted any of the states eight casinos and four racetracks to take bets on professional sports as well as college sports. Unfortunately, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the National Basketball Association (NBA), the National Football League (NFL), the National Hockey League, and Major League Baseball all filed a federal lawsuit against the state. The lawsuit was based on the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 which banned sports betting in all but four states.

In 2013 a United States District Court Judge ruled in favor of the athletic leagues and prevented New Jersey from issuing sports betting licenses.

What is public sentiment about NJ online sports betting?

A recent poll by Seton Hall University Stated that 63 percent of the population believe that sports betting should be legal, and 68 percent of people that responded to the survey said that sports betting’s legality should be decided at the state level rather than the federal level.

American Gaming Association President Geoff Freeman gave his opinion pertaining to the federal ruling in the New York Times:

“A federal government prohibition has driven an illegal, and occasionally dangerous, sports betting market of at least $150 billion annually,”

Law enforcement, mayors, leaders in sports, fans and many others agree that it’s time for a regulated sports betting marketplace that protects consumers, communities and the integrity of sports we enjoy.”

Where is sports betting legal in the US?

In Nevada, where sports betting is legal, the state grossed $4.2 billion in wagers just last year (2015) and worldwide the number of wagers placed annually on sports betting is estimated at a staggering $150 billion.

All across the United States, the Federal Wire Act made it illegal to place bets over the telephone, and for many years, this act also made it illegal to place bets online. This hasn’t stopped thousands of Americans from disregarding the laws and making sports bets online at many offshore sports betting sites.

The market for online sports betting has always been very large and as long as there are sporting events, it will continue to pull in huge amounts of revenue for those willing to take bets.

What does the future hold for US online sports betting?

Recently, many professional leagues, including the National Basketball Association (NBA), have acknowledged that they are moving towards a time in which sports betting is legal.

We can only hope that in the near future online sports betting will be legal in the state of New Jersey and players will be able to log onto to VirginCasino.com or Betfair.com and place bets on the outcome of their favorite sports matches, but for the time being, this is not the case.

Legal sports betting in the state of New Jersey would take gambling out of the hands of illegal book makers and offshore gambling websites. The much-needed revenue legal sports gambling would bring to the state of New Jersey could do great things for the economy.

Unfortunately, current legislation prevents gamblers living within the United States from placing legitimate bets on their favorite sports teams.

Starting as early as 2017, formal lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill may begin for the expansion of legalized sports betting, but for the time being, sports betting in New Jersey will remain in the hands of illegal bookmakers.

Can Loyalty Points Earned Online Be Redeemed For Free Play Or Cash At New Jersey Casinos?

Matt Kaufman October 24, 2016 0 comments
free cash NJ online casinos

All online New Jersey online gambling websites offer some sort of free play and/or cash to reward their loyal players.

However, this free play and cash is mostly relegated to online play only.

What is the best online casino loyalty program in New Jersey?

One of our favorite rewards programs is the Golden Rewards Player’s Club offered at the Golden Nugget Casino, because once Golden Points are redeemed they are added directly to the patron’s cashable balance.

At many other online casinos, this bonus money is still subject to playthrough requirements.

Let’s take a look at the Golden Reward Player’s Club, how it works, and why it is one of the best in the industry.

How does Golden Nugget’s Player’s Club operate?

Golden Points can be converted into cash at a rate of $1 per 100 points or $0.01 per point.

In order to redeem points, a player must have a minimum of 100 Golden Points in their balance and they must also redeem all their points at the same time. There are no partial point redemptions allowed.

At first glance these seems like pretty steep requirements, but the Golden Nugget Casino allows players to earn points in a much larger variety of ways than many of their competitors.

  • $100 wagered on slots will earn 5 Golden Points
  • $100 wagered on table games, blackjack, roulette or video poker will earn 1 Golden Point

More ways you can earn Golden Points:

  • Every day a real money wager is played: 10 points
  • Every day the patron deposits between $50 and $99: 20 points
  • Every day the patron deposits $100 or more: 40 points

As you can see, the points start piling up and just to reiterate, once Golden Points are converted to cash they can be instantly cashed out of your account without any further restrictions.

What are the loyalty programs like at NJ online poker rooms?

If you are an online poker player, be sure to check out PokerStars NJ and WSOP, both of which have stellar VIP programs.

PokerStars, in particular, has a VIP rewards program that you will enjoy.

There are six different levels of VIP status that you earn through competing in monthly or yearly VIP Steps. The first five VIP statuses are achieved on a monthly basis (BronzeStar, ChromeStar, SilverStar, and PlatinumStar) whereas the last, Supernova, is achieved on a yearly basis.

A quick perusal of the PokerStars VIP Store will do more than we ever could to convince you of the value of the site’s VIP Club.

As you move up the ranks of the VIP club, you can not only pick up cool PokerStars merchandise, you can purchase VIP cash rebates and online tickets to the biggest and best poker tournaments New Jersey online poker has to offer.

What is the best NJ online casino VIP program with land-based rewards?

It is worth noting that the that if you are looking for an online casino that offers a direct transference of online play to its brick and mortar counterpart, Harrah’s Total Rewards program is probably the right choice for your online play.

When you play at Harrah’s, for every $20 you wager, you will receive 1 Tier Credit (TC) and 1 Online Reward Credit.

Once you link your account, your Online Tier Credits will be automatically awarded to your Total Rewards account every month. You will then gain access to all applicable benefits at Total Rewards Atlantic City properties or any other Total Rewards property.

If you play enough at Harrah’s to achieve Seven Stars status, you will receive a $500 celebration dinner, complimentary rooms, upgrades to the best available rooms at check-in, annual retreats to any Total Rewards resort or casino, invitations to events, and a congratulatory trip with Norwegian Cruise Line.  

Once you achieve higher levels of reward at any of the New Jersey online casinos, you will start to earn all sorts of outstanding rewards and comps.

How Are Underage Players Prevented From Gambling Online In New Jersey?

Matt Kaufman October 17, 2016 0 comments
NJ online gambling legal age

In order to be eligible to gamble online in the state of New Jersey, a player must be at least 21 years old and located within the state.

In New Jersey, it is a criminal offense to allow a person who is under the age of 21 to participate in internet or mobile wagering.

Online casinos such as Betfair or Virgin Casino take their age verification responsibilities very seriously.

They carry out age verification checks on all customers at the time of account establishment.

So unless a child is being expressly allowed by their parents or has stolen an adult’s identification, they will not be able to create an account or gamble at any online New Jersey gambling site.

How does Betfair specifically prevent underage gambling?

There are differences in the preventive measures that online New Jersey casinos take to prevent underage gambling, but the overall goal is always the same.

Using Betfair Casino as an example, we see that when you create an account on Betfair they require you to enter your birthdate as well as your social security number. If the age doesn’t match up, the casino will move forward with their investigation.

Players may then be required to submit such documentation as copies of their driver’s license and copies of credit card statements.

Until the casino is confident that you are who you say you are and that you are in fact 21 years of age, many of your player account privileges will be suspended.

If you are unable to prove that you are over the age of 21, you will not be allowed to gamble on Betfair NJ.

Providing inaccurate or dishonest information about your age can result in legal action taken by the casino and criminal charges being pressed against the individual. It may also result in forfeiture of any winnings that player received.

From the advent of online gambling, concerned citizens have always worried about underage players logging on to sites and gambling.

As compared to live casinos where young-looking players are quickly spotted by casino security and required to show valid identification proving their age, online casinos seem like a much easier avenue for underage players to infiltrate.

This is in fact not true thanks to the reliable and proven prevention systems put into place by sites regulated by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.

What can parents do to prevent their children from gambling?

Though it is unlikely to occur, after the initial sign up phase, it seems, underage players are able to run rampant in online casino games. Unfortunately, there isn’t a whole lot that online casinos can do once a new player is established as being 21 years or older.

It is up to parents and responsible adults to monitor children’s behaviors and make sure that they are not participating in online gambling.

We recommend that responsible adults install internet filtering software on their computers. This software provides parents with the ability to control content displayed, block certain websites, and set up passwords to prevent gambling site from being available to underage persons.

There are plenty of filtering software choices available and a quick internet search will bring up reviews of the top filtering software.

Again, we stress that legal NJ online casinos are subject to strict rules and regulations, and as of this writing there have been zero reported instances of underage gambling on state-regulated websites.

Where can you get help if you suspect problem gambling?

If you are a concerned parent and you believe that your child has been gambling online, you should immediately contact the gambling operator and inform them of your child’s age.

You should also find out what information misled the casino about the age of your child and allowed them to play on the online gambling site.

If you believe that your child or an underage person is not only gambling but having problems as a result of that gambling, you should call the 24/7 Toll-Free New Jersey Telephone Hotline at 1-855-222-5542 for free confidential help.

The gambling hotline is for anyone that needs help with a gambling problem or anyone who is interested in helping someone with a gambling problem.

The hotline is divided into three segments:

  1. Connection to volunteers.
  2. Directions to New Jersey-based Gambler’s Anonymous meetings.
  3. Requests for information regarding problem gambling.

Can New Jersey Online Poker Players Play Against Players From Other States Or Countries?

Matt Kaufman October 11, 2016 0 comments
NJ interstate online poker questions

So, can New Jersey online poker players play against players from other states or outside the United States?

The quick answer is “no.”

At the time of this writing, you are only allowed to player poker on any of the New Jersey online poker rooms with other players that are also located in the state of New Jersey.

Why is there a need for interstate online poker in New Jersey?

When PokerStars NJ opened its doors to United States online poker back in March of 2016, it immediately became the leading online poker site in the state.

This was most likely due to its superb reputation among poker players before the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) forced offshore poker sites to shut down to United States clientele.

PokerStars NJ was an overnight success. For a time the site caused a surge in New Jersey online poker which lead to increased liquidity, better game selection, and promotional efforts that were unmatched in the industry up until that point.

But as the frenzy slowed down and the novelty wore off, players went back to other sites.

Today the industry isn’t that much better than it was 12 months ago. With so many different New Jersey online gambling sites all vying for a piece of the pie, the player base in New Jersey is far too thin.

In order to reinvigorate online poker in the state, some sort of interstate compact to allow for players in the state of New Jersey to play with players from other states or countries will have to be instituted.

The last we checked (September 2016), the 7-day average for players across all New Jersey online poker rooms was just shy of 300 simultaneous players.

What are the busiest NJ online poker rooms?

The most active of these poker rooms, and the sites we suggest you play if you are lucky enough to be within the state, are WSOP NJ and PokerStars NJ.

Combined, these two sites have more than 75 percent of all online New Jersey players. WSOP NJ and Pokerstars NJ are your best bet to find the games and tournaments you are looking for.

Will New Jersey poker players ever be able to play against players from other states or countries?

Most experts agree that some US states will at some point combine their player pools for online poker. At the time of writing, online poker is only legal in New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware.

It is widely agreed upon that this merger would function much the same way that several states have combined lottery player pools to create bigger and better prizes for everyone involved (Powerball).

But agreements such as these are very complex and there are several factors that slow down the development of such compacts. As of September 2016, there is no set timeline for when these shared player pools could occur in the future.

That being said, New Jersey wants to serve as a regulatory hub for other US States that are attempting to regulate online gambling.

New Jersey Division of Gambling Enforcement Director David Rebuck promoted these aspirations at the East Coast Gaming Congress back in May of 2015 and has engaged in several conversations with regulators from the UK over the issue of sharing player pools:

“If you partner with New Jersey, I can guarantee you, you can be up and operating in anywhere from 90 to 120 days, and you can set whatever tax rate you want.”

With this promise and active efforts by the state of New Jersey to increase its online gambling market share, many other states are sure to jump on board. As legalized online gambling spreads throughout the United States, poker player pools will become larger and larger.

It is only a matter of time before New Jersey poker players will be allowed to play poker online with gamblers from other states and possibly even other countries, though when that time will arrive is not yet known.

Image credit: Benoit Daoust / Shutterstock.com