New Jersey Gambling Laws

New Jersey

New Jersey Gambling Laws

New Jersey gambling laws are some of the most lenient in the Country thanks to a few recent laws that opened the doors for online casinos. The Garden State has a deep history of gambling and is in fact home to the world's first casino resorts housed in Atlantic City. With recent changes to New Jersey gambling laws, both casino and poker games can now be accessed by those residing within the state's borders through the internet. This page will give you a full rundown of New Jersey gambling laws.

History of New Jersey Gambling Laws

Let's start with a rundown of New Jersey gambling history. In 1969, New Jersey approved and started its first state lottery in order to fund education within the state. There were quite a few schools that were built using these lottery funds.

New Jersey First Casinos Built 

In 1976, New Jersey legalized gambling, becoming the second state to do so. The Garden State authorized the opening of physical casinos in order to fund money for the elderly and disabled. Two years later, the first casino officially opened its doors in Atlantic City. Resorts International Casino gets the props for being the first casino to establish itself in New Jersey, which is still open today and has its own online casino website. 16 new casinos opened their doors in The Garden State after that, most of which were rooted in Atlantic City.

New Jersey Online Casinos Start

In 2011, Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christy rejected the first bill written to legalize online casino activity. However, it was only two years later that a new bill was successfully signed into law. By 2013, the first online casino websites that offer both poker and casino games went live.

Timeline of New Jersey Online Casino Legality

January 1, 2010

Senate, No. 3167 was introduced by Raymond Lesniak. The bill was written to allow Atlantic City casinos to legally operate online casinos in New Jersey. It stated that licensees would be required to buy an annual license to go live and that all equipment (ie. mobile phone, tablet or computer) must be residing within New Jersey.

March 2010

John Burzichelli started a different New Jersey online casino bill called Bill 2570. This new bill proposed that New Jersey residents could gamble on any type of internet gambling. It also stipulated the same requirements that the senate bill proposed by Lesniak covered. The bill wasn't voted on until 2011.

November 2010

Lesniak's bill passed in the Senate with a 29 to 5 margin. It had widespread support and was the first bill of its kind to be passed by a US senate. However, this did not mean that it would come into law as it still needed to be passed by the state's assembly and signed by Chris Christy.

January 1, 2011

The bill by Burzichelli also passed, this time in the New Jersey Assembly. The bill moved on to the Senate.

March 2011

Once amended, the bill ended up on Chris Christie's desk. Although it had a ton of support, he still vetoed it. Many people were against Christie's decision and he was thought to have vetoed the bill due to political motivation.

April 15 2011 

Online poker was shut down across the US due to the US Department of Justice who indicted the executives of the most prominent online poker firms within the US.

December 23, 2011

The Wire Act  is amended by changing its interpretation concluding that any event outside of sports betting does not fall under the category of the Wire Act.

Beginning of 2012

Chris Christie decides to change his position on New Jersey online gambling. Senator Lesniak introduces a new bill to cater to the initial concerns of Christie of the original gambling bill. The two new bills were Assembly Bill A2579 and Senate Bill S1565.

May 2012

The bill does not pass the New Jersey Senate.

December 17, 2012

The New Jersey assembly pass the A2578 and it moved to Senate where it passed with a 33 to 3 margin.

February 2013

Governor Christie finds issue with the current gambling bill and vetoes it. Lesniak attempts to make the changes and by the end of the month the bill is changed to fit Chris Christie's requests.

February 26, 2013

The revised bill passes the senate and assembly quickly. Christie finally signs the new A2578 into law making New Jersey the official third US state to officially legalize online gambling.

April 17, 2013

Caesars Entertainment starts the process of being the first online casino to gain a New Jersey internet gambling license.

July 3, 2013

The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement released a press release stating that 16 casinos applied to receive their gambling license.

December 2013

The sites that were initially approved by NJDGE are officially approved and functional. The NJDGE also announces that 100,000 people have signed up for accounts.

October 13 2017

Chris Christie announced that Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware will be sharing player pools for online poker games in unprecedented move.

What Type of Online Gambling is Legal in New Jersey?

New Jersey Gambling Laws: Casino Gambling

Casino gambling is legal both online and in physical casinos in Atlantic City. Online casino gambling became legal in 2013 with the requirement that an online casino site must be joined through being owned by or a partner of a physical casino owner. You must be residing within the state of New Jersey to play.

New Jersey Gambling Laws: Poker Gambling

New Jersey gambling laws state that poker is legal both at social poker games in Atlantic City and online. There are many international partnerships with casino license holders to ensure that you have a wide array of poker room options online.

New Jersey Gambling Laws: Bingo Games

Bingo is allowed within the state of New Jersey, and there is a couple of opportunities to play New Jersey Online Bingo.

New Jersey Gambling Laws: Sports Betting

Online sports betting is still not legal in New Jersey and is only allowed in one of the sate's three authorized racetracks. Although New Jersey is hopping to legalizes sports betting, so far there has been a lot of dispute from professional sports leagues.

New Jersey Gambling Laws: Lottery Games

New Jersey has a thriving lottery that has been in effect since 1970.

Taxes, Fees and Licensing

A2578 allows New Jersey land-based casinos the chance to apply for an online gaming license by partnering with a software operator or provider or by going at it independently. Casinos who want to obtain a license needs to pay a nonrefundable $1000,000 deposit. If the casino is approved, then the deposit will go towards the cost of their gaming license, which costs $400,000.

Once approved, Casinos must pay a $250,000 renewal fee and a $250,000 annual fee each year that goes to the state's mandatory gambling treatment programs. On top of this, iGaming operators pay a 15% tax rate on their gaming revenue, as well as 2.5 percent to the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA).

New Jersey Online Gambling Regulation

The Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) regulates all online gambling activity. This includes:

  • Monitoring for violations
  • Assuring the integrity and honesty of casino employees, operators and vendors
  • Ensuring casino games are fair
  • Vetting license applicants
  • Integrity of information systems
  • Exclusion list violation monitoring

Licensing to Final Approval Path

Once casinos obtain their license, they must obtain a transactional waver before they can open their online gaming operation to New Jersey residents. This permit allows the site to hold a soft launch which allows their online casino to be opened to a small number of players for a limited time each day. During this time, regulators are closely look at the site to make sure that consumers are safe and that they are following all the laws and regulations that they are held to. If the DGE sees that the site is up to par, it is only then that they'll receive the authorization to fully open its doors to New Jersey residents.

Who Can Play For Real Money on New Jersey Online Casinos?

Not just anyone can play on regulate online casino sites as New Jersey regulators are extremely strict when it comes to restricting who can play for real money on New Jersey online casinos. Here's who can play:

  • Players must be at least 21 years old to play for real money
  • Players must be located within New Jersey state borders while they're playing
  • Players do not need to be a resident of New Jersey
  • Players can start and fund a user account from anywhere in the Country, but can't start playing for real money

Each user must go through several verifying steps for every online casino before they're allowed to start gambling. These details are verified using both the user's social security number and by using geolocation software. Online casinos will crosscheck players details with both credit reporting agencies and public databases.

Fantasy Sports in New Jersey as an Alternative

Daily Fantasy Sports Rooms Reviewed

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Despite a variety of legal online gambling options in New Jersey, one of the few areas prohibited is land-based sports betting. This is due to federal restrictions. There is a loophole that natives of the state can bet on sports through a regulated and licensed offshore online sportsbooks. However, while the state has advocated to allow sports betting for a while now, only online poker and other online casino games have been approved.

No residents of the state have ever been prosecuted for betting on a sports event online when wagering through an offshore company. This is due not to a specific law allowing it, but more due to the fact that none of the existing laws contain wording that specifically prohibits online gambling. However, it's recommended that you stick with regulated and legal online casino sites within New Jersey to ensure your payments are fully safe.

While New Jersey continues to lobby against the federal law in order to instate online sports betting, the state does not tolerate any illegal gambling rings or bookmakers’ businesses within their boundaries. The state also doles out serious punishments for those who attempt to break the laws.

In 2012, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie authorized legislation that allowed betting on 12 casinos and four racetracks to offer gambling on professional and college sports. However, the law didn’t allow wagers on college events played in-state or out-of-state if it involved a college team from New Jersey.

The state has been in the center of controversy in the past, with the NBA, NFL, NCAA, NFL, MLB and NHL filing a lawsuit against the state to prevent sports betting. This was in relation to the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which banned sports betting in all states, except four. The ruling fell against New Jersey and the governor stated that he would appeal the case to the Supreme Court.

Online Casinos

Online Casinos in New Jersey Reviewed

There is more freedom when it comes to casino gambling in this state. Raymond Lasniak passed the New Jersey legislation in 2011, which allows state residents over age 21 to gamble online. However, due to restrictions in the constitution, it only allows casino gambling in Atlantic City. Therefore, the legislation states that computer services that operate online gambling sites have to be located in Atlantic City at licensed casinos only. With regulations formed by the Casino Control Committee that ensured that all bets were placed from inside the state, the bill evaded federal prohibitions.

A legal opinion on the matter was given by the United States Justice Department, stating that the Wire Act only banned online sports betting and not online casino games. The points raised over the debate included a poker bet not being completed until a server in Atlantic City accepted the wager, meaning no constitutional amendment would be needed to authorize the gambling, argued by John Wefing. State Senator Jennifer Beck also argued that New Jersey voters could not legalize online gambling simply with their approval.

Due to these concerns, new legislation was drafted, which stated businesses other than Atlantic City casinos were prohibited from advertising online gambling (or allowing their facilities to offer the services).

February 26, 2013 saw a revised bill passed, which permitted internet gambling under certain conditions and regulations. The legislation allowed online casino gambling only for a 10-year trial period, and it restricted it to just 11 casinos within Atlantic City. It also imposed a 15-percent tax on the revenues, which is higher than the 8 percent currently charged to casinos. In addition, the law specifies that players must be at a computer within the state and must be over the age of 21 in order to play.

History was made when the first company received an online gambling license in October 2013. It was a combined enterprise involving Boyd Gaming and a divestiture trust (established by MGM Resorts International) called Borgata, marking the start of a new online gambling era for the state. They are working in conjunction with Bwin.party Digital Entertainment Plc., who provide their online service.

In that same year, 37 firms applied for online gambling licenses, including the formidable Wynn Interactive (the Las Vegas casino magnate); however, Wynn Interactive will need to either buy, build, or contract with an existing property in the state in order access the New Jersey market.

Online Poker in NJ

New Jersey Pokerrooms Reviewed

The state of online poker in New Jersey has changed significantly over recent years and the governor has been fighting hard to give players what they want while still protecting the online safety of those who play. In 2013, the revised bill was passed in a very short two months, and had spurred PokerStars (the large online poker site) to begin purchase moves to acquire an Atlantic City casino in order to comply with state regulations. However, the request was rejected by the state, despite being the world’s largest online poker company. It is speculated that this is because the bookmaker had continued to operate within the U.S., even when federal authorities made it clear the company wasn’t welcome.

There also seems to be an exception in the law for certain types of social gambling and for the possession of a gambling device, other than a slot machine. This opens up room for home games like poker, as long as no one is otherwise profiting from the game’s operation. Also, if it is a regulated commercial casino or a charitable event, playing poker for real money is deemed acceptable. The law focuses mainly on the operators and not the players, but focuses on those who assist illegal casino operations as well.

Online poker strikes an unsteady balance within the regulatory system in New Jersey. The bill that passed does not specifically mention poker as an approved game, even though it does bring regulated gambling to the state. It will fall to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement to establish the specific parameters and regulations for the game.

Best Online Poker Sites in New Jersey

Several regulated online casinos in the state of New Jersey are offering online poker as well. Since liquidity is important for players we recommend playing on one of the bigger online poker sites such as Party Poker or 888. In order to get the best online casino bonuses you should read our special page that highlights all casino bonuses for New Jersey residents.

New Jersey Gambling Laws FAQ

Is online gambling legal in New Jersey?

Since November 2013, online poker and casino rooms are legal in the state of New Jersey. There are still a few overseas gambling websites that let New Jersey residents to gamble on sports games. However, doing so is not legal or regulated within the state.

Can you gamble on regulated New Jersey online casino and  poker sites if you're from another state?

Yes, you can as long as you sign up for an account within the New Jersey state borders and you are in the state when you play. Additionally, if you are a resident of New Jersey, but are outside of the state, you won't be able to play for real money on any online gambling sites until you are in the state. Anyone who is physically within New Jersey, resident or not, can legally gamble real money on online poker and casino sites as long as they are 21 or older.

What is the legal gambling age in New Jersey?

New Jersey age requirements are very strict when it comes to gambling on both online and physical casinos. To start playing you must first verify that you are 21 years of age or older. However, you may be 18 to play bingo or the lottery, as well as bet on physical horse and dog races. You may be subject to a penalty if you are caught trying to play at an online or physical casino if you're not of legal age.

Is Online Sports Betting Legal Within New Jersey?

Online sports betting websites are not prohibited in the state of New Jersey. Although there are legal overseas online sports betting websites, these are not regulated within New Jersey and so PlayingLegal does not recommend that you play on them. That being said, you will not be arrested or face any criminal charges for using overseas online gambling websites.

Conclusion of New Jersey Gambling Laws

While New Jersey gambling laws are fairly flexible compared to many other sports, when it comes to fantasy sports, online casinos and online poker, the state does not take kindly to those who choose to break laws that are in place. State law does not punish players; however, for those found operating illegal bookmakers or possessing records or equipment for use in illegal gambling, the punishment is strict: up to five years in prison, depending on the size and quantity of the bets in question.

The good news for residents of The Garden State is that it is one of only three states within New Jersey, which has fully legalized online casino and poker websites as long as they are tied to a physical casino within New Jersey. Residents and visitors of New Jersey can rest easy knowing that their banking and personal information is fully protected when playing on one of the regulated New Jersey online casinos.

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