Legal New Jersey online slots are becoming increasingly common in the Garden State thanks to changes in the law and a desire to stimulate a flagging gambling economy that saw four land-based casinos close their doors in 2014. This is great news for fan of slot machines, as well as American players who’ve been suffering ever since the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act in 2006.
Online Gambling in New Jersey
The movement to allow online slots and other virtual casino games in the state of New Jersey started in earnest in 2011. That’s when a bill was passed by the state legislature to allow citizens 21 and older to legally gamble via the Internet, as long as the servers of the websites were located in licensed Atlantic City casinos.
While the bill was vetoed by Governor Chris Christie, additional legislation was drafted to deal with various concerns from state politicians. In addition to making online gambling legal, the updated bill prohibited businesses other than Atlantic City casinos from advertising or offering online gaming.
This seemed to satisfy everyone involved, as the revised bill was approved by the state legislature and then signed into law by Christie. The result was a 10-year trial period for legalized online gambling in New Jersey, which means that additional legal action will be required in 2023.
Players must be 21 years old or older to participate, and they’re required to be physically located within the state of New Jersey. The bill also leaves open the possibility of future compacts with other states, which could allow gamblers and slots fans to choose from a broader range of participating casinos.
Initial projections ranged as high as a billion dollars in revenue for the first year of the law, but more conservative estimates were in the $300 million range. The actual performance came in below both numbers, generating a disappointing $100 million during the inaugural year. Much of this was blamed on the major credit card companies, as their uncertainty regarding the law caused numerous banks to decline deposit requests from customers.
The Cost of Doing Business
So how much does it cost to legally operate an online casino in the state of New Jersey? In addition to the costs associated with gaming software and all the nuts and bolts that go into the operation of a website, the following fees have been set forth by the New Jersey Casino Control Commission and the Division of Gaming Enforcement.
- Initial Internet Gaming Permit Deposit – $100,000
- Initial Internet Gaming Permit Issuance – $300,000 (valid for one year)
- Renewal Permit Deposit – $100,000
- Renewal Permit Issuance – $150,000 (valid for one year)
- Responsible Internet Gaming Fee – $250,000 (charged annually)
- 15% Annual Tax for Online Gaming Revenue (compared to 8% for land-based casinos)
Please note that these fees have no direct impact on the player. They do, however, demonstrate that online casinos that want to offer online slots for real money must pay a substantial price for the right to operate in the state of New Jersey. Of course, the sizable profit margin for Internet gaming more than offsets these expenses.
How the Law Impacts Players
If you’re the type of person who worries about getting crossways with the American justice system, I’ve got good news for you: none of the laws on the book in New Jersey are going to get you into any trouble. That was case before the UIGEA, and it’s still the case.
The laws regarding online gambling were never intended to punish the individual player. Rather, they were meant to go after online casinos that were illegally targeting gamblers within the state. That means–now or in the future–you can play at any Internet casino that will accept you, and you don’t have to worry about the cops kicking in your door in the middle of the night.
While legal New Jersey slots haven’t been met with the enthusiastic reception that some would have hoped for, this legislation is certainly a step in the right direction. It ultimately means that more international gaming sites are going to venture back into the U.S. market, and the increase in competition should result in bigger bonuses and better overall service for players. If you live in the United States hopefully full regulation and legalization is on its way but in the meantime you can still enjoy playing USA online slots from offshore online casinos.