Legal Gaming Sites in New Jersey
2013 was a big year for online gaming in the US. Early that year, the New Jersey state legislature and governor's office came to an agreement to legalize and regulate real money casino sites in that state. If you live in New Jersey, you can now play online at officially licensed gaming sites.
New Jersey wasn't the first state to pass legislation of this sort, but it was the first state to actually implement the regulations and allow casino sites to go live. Fifty thousand people signed up for gambling accounts in the first week alone, and countless more have since then.
So far, everything seems to be running well. All the major land-based casinos in New Jersey partnered up with existing software providers in order to make a smooth transition from live play to online gaming. Each of the big casinos in Jersey now has its own online presence.
Where to Play
There are about a dozen legal, licensed gaming sites in New Jersey right now. That number is expected to increase over time, but right now, we're looking at about 12 options. Based on player reports and our own experiences, these are the best places to play:
You can still play at unlicensed offshore gaming sites in New Jersey, but there's really no good reason to unless it's to bet on sports (there's no online sports betting in NJ). But if your main games are casino-style games and multi-player poker, the official sites will work just fine.
Generally, it's best to play at licensed sites whenever possible. There are plenty of reputable offshore gaming sites, but you have stronger guarantees at the sites that fall under New Jersey jurisdiction. The big gaming resorts that run these sites are legally obligated to honor all guarantees and cashouts. Plus, they are inspected by the state to ensure fair games and true odds.
What we've noticed is that each resort in New Jersey has at least two websites for its games - one website dedicated to casino games and the other dedicated to online poker. The casino sites look and function just like all the old online casinos we've been playing at for years. They have virtual slot machines, table games, roulette, and so on.
The poker sites should also be familiar to those of you who have played online poker in the past. You can sign up for an account, download the software and play against other people for real money. Right now, the games are all limited to residents of New Jersey. However, many industry people are predicting that as other states come online, reciprocity deals will be made to allow players to join other states' poker sites.
Real money online gaming is brand new in the US, so naturally people have questions. Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions.
1. Do I need to be a resident of New Jersey or just located in NJ?
You do NOT need to be a resident. You simply need to be located in New Jersey when playing for real money.
You will be asked to provide proof of your identity and address when signing up for an account at these sites. This will include scanning a copy of your ID and a recent utility bill. It's fine if you live in another state - they'll still accept your documents. Then when you visit New Jersey, you can log in to your account and play without waiting.
2. How do the sites know where I'm located?
Gaming sites are required by law to use specific methods to ensure you are actually located in New Jersey while playing. First, they check your IP address to see where you're connecting from. Second, they use your WiFi connection to see where you are in relation to other networks, which is used to pinpoint your location. Last, they send text messages to your phone to see if your phone is located in New Jersey.
You need to pass all three checks to play online in NJ. This means you must have a WiFi internet connection, a mobile phone and a local IP address. These requirements are a little burdensome, but that's the way the law was written. The sites have no choice but to comply.
3. What kind of bonuses can I expect?
Visit any New Jersey gaming site and you'll see the same types of bonus offers that offshore casino and poker sites have always given out. Remember, those gaming sites in Jersey still compete against offshore sites for your business. Plus, they compete against one another in the domestic market. They are all giving out bonuses in order to attract new players.
We've seen a couple of different types of bonuses so far. Some sites are giving out a little free cash to anyone who signs up for an account. Other sites are handing out large percentage-match bonuses as an incentive to those who make real money deposits. Some are offering both.
4. What types of games are offered?
One thing we were happy to see with the legislation that was passed in New Jersey is that it wasn't overly restrictive. It provides licensed gaming sites plenty of room to offer all types of games. Slots, blackjack, video poker, roulette, baccarat and many more are all available. It's just like playing at any offshore casino.
In addition to casino games, the legislation also allows online poker. The only major form of gaming that is still missing is sports betting. It will likely be a long time before we get fully legal online sports betting anywhere in the US.
5. How can I deposit?
First, you need to verify your identity. Sign up for an account and you'll be prompted to send in the documents that they need. You cannot deposit until you complete the verification process. And yes, this is a part of the law so there's no escaping it.
After you verify your identity, you can deposit with a credit card, debit card, check, ACH transfer, prepaid card or by visiting the brick-and-mortar casino in person and giving them cash. Withdrawals are paid out by bank transfer or by giving you cash at the brick-and-mortar location.