Historically, Atlantic City is known for its Boardwalk, its beaches, and of course its big city casinos. Now New Jersey has added another string to its bow of popular attractions, by expanding its gambling reach to the virtual realm. Casino gaming is no longer limited to the brick-and-mortar establishments, and is now available on your computer and your smart phone too. As long as you are 21 years and older, and a resident or visitor located within the State of New Jersey, you can play online casino and poker games for real money.
The Road to Legal Online Gaming in New Jersey
The road to online gaming hasn’t been a smooth one in New Jersey. It was poised to become the first State to legalize online gaming when its legislature approved a bill sponsored by the ‘white knight’ of the pro-online gambling cause, Senator Ray Lesniak, way back in January 2011. Enter stage right Governor Chris Christie, the ‘black knight’ of the moment, who vetoed the bill on March 3, 2011. At the time, Governor Christie felt that online gambling violated the New Jersey Constitution. He stated that New Jersey voters would need to pass a constitutional amendment specifically allowing online gambling.
The Black Friday indictments that closed down PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker were unsealed the following month. Washington DC, which had also legalized online gambling, repealed its law, and the topic of regulated online gambling was shelved across the country.
That was until the U.S. Department of Justice published an opinion in December 2011 stating that intrastate online gambling did not violate the Wire Act. This was a legal opinion shared by many experts in the industry.
This turn of events opened the door for New Jersey to go back to the drawing board, and in 2012, Bill A2578 was introduced. It was essentially the same bill that Governor Christie vetoed in 2011. On December 19, 2012, the New Jersey Assembly passed the bill by a 48-24 margin. The New Jersey Senate passed the bill the following day by a 33-3 margin.
Governor Christie still had issues with some aspects of A2578, and on February 7, 2013, he conditionally vetoed the bill. Governor Christie wanted Atlantic City casinos to pay a higher tax rate on interactive gaming revenue. There was also a push to set aside more funds for problem gambling, an issue where Governor Christie had been vocal.
On February 26, 2013, the revised version of the bill passed both chambers of the New Jersey Legislature and headed to Governor Christie’s desk. Seizing the chance to become the ‘white knight’, Christie did a virtual 180 and signed the bill into law later that day. Partnerships were quickly forged between Atlantic City casinos and online providers, and the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) was kept busy awarding online gaming licenses to approved applicants.
The Live Casino-Online Operator partnerships currently licensed and offering regulated, fully legal online gaming in the State of New Jersey are as follows:
Caesars Interactive Entertainment
Affiliate of Boardwalk Regency Corporation
Caesars Interactive Entertainment
Affiliate of Bally’s Park Place
- HarrahsCasino.com (888 Platform) Read Review >>
- 888 Casino (888 Platform) Read Review >>
- WSOP.com on the 888 Platform
- us.888.com on the 888 Platform
- us.888poker.com on the 888 Platform
Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa
- BorgataCasino.com (bwin.party Platform) Read Review >>
- PartyPoker Casino (bwin.party Platform) Read Review >>
Trump Plaza Associates
Tropicana Casino and Resort
- TropicanaCasino.com (Gamesys Platform) Read Review >>
- VirginCasino.com (Gamesys Platform) Read Review >>
Golden Nugget Atlantic City
- GoldenNuggetCasino.com (Bally IGP Platform)
- nj-casino.goldennuggetcasino.com (Bally IGP Platform)
We expect other alliances to be licensed shortly by the DGE in New Jersey, including the much-anticipated team of PokerStars (Rational Group) and the Resorts Casino Club.
Now it’s Legal – Where to Play
Deciding where to sign up to gamble online can seem intimidating at first. How do you make a choice between New Jersey’s many sites, the different options available, and the varying game selections to choose from?
Begin by asking yourself “What is my goal in playing online?” Are you likely to play the highest stakes, do you want to find the best deposit bonuses, or is cashing out your winnings at a land-based casino partner important? Depending on your needs, different sites may offer you the best benefits.
For example, poker players often wish to find the websites with the largest player pools. This gives them the largest tournaments, more game formats to choose from, and more consistent action all hours of the day. The clear choice in that case would be BorgataPoker.com, and nj.PartyPoker.com, as they share player pools.
You might prefer to take advantage of the biggest Bonus available during signup and deposit. If that’s the case, Borgata.com might be a good choice for you with their $20 free signup bonus plus 100% Deposit Bonus up to $600.
For those of you wishing to combine your land based casino loyalty points with online play and rewards, sites like CaesarsCasino.com and HarrahsCasino.com may prove to be the most convenient. One of the advantages here is that Caesar’s owns a whole swag of casinos across the country such as Harrah’s, Horseshoe, Bally’s, Planet Hollywood, and several more. By earning rewards in their system, you can earn Tier Credits and Reward Credits for cash and comps at any of their hotels and casinos around the world!
If an overall large selection of games is important to you purely because you like variety and the option to jump from one game to the next during your time online, then you’ll probably be happiest at CaesarsCasino.com or BorgataCasino.com, and equally frustrated by 888casino.com and Harrah’s minuscule selection by comparison.
Choose BorgataCasino.com for the widest portfolio of Slot games available, but give BetfairCasino.com a try for a superb choice of proprietary Slots titles and a great suite of Table Games and Video Poker games. If you’re on the hunt for Slot games other than the standard IGT and Cryptologic (Amaya) titles, consider TropicanaCasino.com and VirginCasino.com, which both present a roster of innovative Gamesys offerings.
888casino.com and HarrahsCasino.com offer one of the best Roulette games in town. If Craps or No Commission Baccarat speak more to your core, then you’ll do best to check out nj.PartyPoker.com.
For a more detailed analysis of many of the Online Casinos operating legally in the State of New Jersey, we invite you to read our full reviews of CaesarsCasino.com, HarrahsCasino.com, 888 Casino, Betfair.com, BorgataCasino.com, PartyPoker Casino, TropicanaCasino.com, and VirginCasino.com.
In a nutshell, you’re sure to gravitate toward two or three of New Jersey’s legal Online Casinos for various reasons, but try a variety of casinos to find your favorite. One of these casinos is destined to become your absolute favorite spot to get your online gaming fix. In the meantime, while you’re shopping around, continue to enjoy yourself, have some fun, and if you’re lucky enough, you might just happen to bank a few big wins along the way!