The New York Times reports that gamblers in the state of New Jersey are the first U.S. gamers to enjoy access to the Internet casino, thanks to a bill that Governor Chris Christie recently signed to invite the 888 casino to operate in the state.

In late 2013 New Jersey opened up Internet gambling to local residents, ending a U.S. moratorium on online casinos that frustrated casinos, gamers and state financial officials. Over three decades ago New Jersey joined Nevada in offering legal casino gambling in Atlantic City. That move brought in billions of dollars to state coffers and set an example for casino activity that dozens of other states have since copied. Now the same drive to create casino revenue and use it for public benefit has fuelled legislation that will allow New Jersey residents to play at any time and from any location on their PC or mobile device.

Online casino gaming has opened up a whole new world for casino gamblers. Online casino gambling means that a player can gamble at his leisure. He can enter the casino on his laptop or desktop PC from the comfort of his own home and play from his armchair. He can engage in a few rounds of his favourite game during a work break or while he’s riding the train. He can even enjoy a game or two while he’s relaxing in bed before he goes to sleep at night. The online casino is available 24/7. It connects to all devices via a cable, WiFi or cellular connection so the player has constant access to play at his convenience. NJ state officials know this, and are now gleefully anticipating a significant portion of the casinos’ tax revenue to come their way.

New Jersey isn’t the first state to allow online gambling  — Delaware and Nevada started to allow residents to play online poker last year. But New Jersey is the first state to plunge into the online casino world full speed ahead by allowing the 888 Casino to offer a full range of casino games including baccarat, roulette, craps, scratch card, blackjack, keno, bingo, sic bo and, of course, the popular online slot machines. Experts will be carefully watching the New Jersey experiment to whether online gambling can meet the optimistic predictions for producing revenue. In addition, New Jersey’s large population provides a good demographic for determining whether online gambling will appeal to younger, more sophisticated and web-savvy patrons without impacting negatively on the land-based casinos.

History

Online gaming evolved in the 1990s and until 2006 many gamers in the United States played via foreign-based online casinos. In 2006 Congress passed a law that made it illegal for casinos to accept bets online for “unlawful transactions. The online casinos ceased to function within the United States until recently, when Delaware and Nevada reintroduced online poker.

New Jersey’s gambling legislation carefully delineates the boundaries of the online casinos’ parameters, making it mandatory for Internet gaming companies to operate through the existing land-based casinos. Six Atlantic City casinos participate in the New Jersey online casino and deposits may only come from within New Jersey.  Early indications are that the online venue appeals to young players who show the most promise in leading New Jersey into its new world of Internet casino gambling

Aussie Online Casinos

Governor Chris Christie reviewed the experiences of the Aussie online casinos when he made his decision to sign the legislation to allow Internet gambling in New Jersey. In reviewing the success of the online pokies Australia Christie’s advisors estimated that online gambling could generate up to one billion dollars in casino revenue — a total of $150 million in tax revenue for New Jersey’s budget. Not everyone agrees with that assessment. Some ratings agencies and industry analysts object that the estimate is inflated. But others feel that the American market is ripe for online gaming and may even end up producing more revenue for both the New Jersey casinos and, by proxy, the state.

In addition to New Jersey, eight other states are presently considering legislation to legalise online gaming. They will be watching to see whether New Jersey can make money, whether online gambling can be limited to gamers over the age of 21 (as state laws mandate), whether gambling addictions will increase and whether available technology can limit gambling within the state lines.

Other questions that must also be addressed involve deciding which casinos will be allowed to operate in New Jersey. At present, only the 888 casino, operated by Cassava Enterprises from Gilbralter, is authorised to offer online gaming in New Jersey. Land-based casino owners, such as billionaire Sheldon Adelson, have vowed to fight the intrusion of Internet casinos but most observers believe that it’s no longer possible to stop the move into the 21st century.

Geoff Freeman, president of the American Gaming Association, summarised the outlook of many in the industry. “The Internet is the next frontier not just for gaming but for every industry, You can look at industries that have seized the potential of the Internet to leverage and grow their business. Then there are those companies like Blockbuster and Hollywood Video who tried to force people to consume their products how they wanted us to consume them, and went out of business. As an industry, the question is how do we get out ahead of this.”

The American Gaming Association estimates that online gambling is now a $33 billion market worldwide, with $3 billion of that coming from illegal betting. Since gamers are going to engage in online gambling anyway, Association analysts say, it’s best to legalise it and thereby exert some control over the online gaming activities. Most concur with Tobin Prior, chief executive of Ultimate Gaming, who said “It’s a new era of using the technology to meet what regulators are concerned about, to protect our children and our data.”

Online Casino Venue

The 888 casino, which was chosen to open up online gambling in New Jersey, already operates in Nevada and in Delaware. 888 Casino is one of the largest online casinos in the world and provides gamers with a wide range of online casino game options including card games of blackjack and poker, table games which include baccarat, roulette and craps and online lotteries such as scratch card, sic bo, keno and bingo.

The 888 casino will also be offering many of their most popular slot machines where Internet gamblers can play the dynamic slots as they enjoy the imaginative visual effects and the realistic audio track. Both three-reel classic slots and five-reel video slots will be offered to ensure that gamers, regardless of their interests or gaming level, will find slot machines that meet their expectations.