It’s been 15 months since any state has launched an online gambling regime. The stalled progress in igaming regulation in other states has many causes, a number of which point directly to New Jersey.
Since launching in November 2013, New Jersey has been acting as a litmus test of sorts for the other states that are on the fence regarding the approval of online poker and gambling. Of course, Nevada and Delaware are watched to some degree as well, but Nevada is ipoker-only and Delaware’s population is quite tiny at under a million.
By default, that has caused most eyes to be fixed on New Jersey to determine whether or not online gambling in its current form is the way to go for states that are looking for a revenue boost. Although challenges and growing pains were anticipated, there are problems that arose that were unexpected.
The earliest problems – geolocation issues for players within the state wanting to play but getting shut out, and credit card companies failing to facilitate deposits associated with gambling – were likely par for the course. Those matters are expected to get better in time, including this year with the implementation of a new gambling credit card code.
Christie at fault?
Not expected was that Governor Chris Christie might actually hold up progress due to his own political aspirations. It hasn’t been proven that Christie delayed the approval of an igaming license for PokerStars at the behest of Sheldon Adelson, but the rumors are many. Something smells fishy on the New Jersey Shore and its not Snooki or Jwoww.
The point is that other states continue to watch the goings-on in New Jersey. And what they see other than the early issues is an igaming regime that came up short in projected revenue, has been criticized for missing the mark in marketing its new product, and is now embroiled in a controversy regarding the governor’s possible run for the presidency in 2016.
Add to that the fact that the first legal online poker site in U.S. history is already gone from the Nevada market and that interstate poker has not gotten off the ground and it is plain to see why most other states have not progressed very much and joined the online gambling party.
Let’s wait and see
The only other state with active 2015 online poker proposals, California, is also grappling with the PokerStars/bad actor dilemma. Lawmakers in states like Pennsylvania that did make progress in 2014 know that they too have to tackle that issue, and they can hardly be blamed for not rushing into addressing the problem.
In fact, all other states cannot be blamed for taking a wait and see approach toward igaming. It seems much easier to let New Jersey first deal with those issues and then take a cue from the trials, errors, mistakes and successes that the Garden State lays claim to or experiences.
2014 went by without the approval or launch of igaming in any other states. 2015 appears headed in the same direction. With New Jersey leading the way as a test or sample for other states, it hasn’t set the best example that would prompt other states to follow suit.