It may not be mainstream knowledge, but online casino gaming is licensed and regulated in three states across the US. These include Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey. The biggest online gaming market presently operating in the US is New Jersey, with an estimated adult population of 6.8 million people. The state officially opened its online gaming market on 26 November 2013 and the key online gambling regulation can be found in the New Jersey Admin Code 13.690. To date, the New Jersey online gaming market has been in operation for just over a year, and myriad facts and figures can be gleaned from the actual gaming revenues generated in the garden state.
How Did New Jersey Online Casinos Perform In 2014?
The data that is now available from all online gaming activity in the state of New Jersey presents a blueprint for the industry moving forward. Most notable is the fact that all the expectations about the profitability and revenue generation possibilities of online gaming were significantly off. Politicians for example estimated that online gaming would likely bring in $1.2 billion in its first year alone. Wells Fargo anticipated annual gaming revenues in 2014 of $635 million, H2 Gambling Cap estimated $410 million, GCRS estimated $235 million, and Econsult was closest to the mark with its $210 million forecast. However the actual online casino revenues generated in New Jersey for 2014 are $124 million. This is significantly off the median mainstream estimates for the state, but the fault may not actually lie with the popularity of online casinos in New Jersey at all.
Factors Causing Lower Online Gaming Revenues in New Jersey
When New Jersey decided to pass legislation allowing for online casino games, many new online casinooperators entered the market. One of the more notable companies is Caesars Interactive Entertainment which is responsible for bringing casinos like CaesarsCasino.com, HarrahsCasino.com, 888.com, and WSOP.com to players anywhere in New Jersey. These operators are well established, and have the backing of globally revered brands like Caesars. This certainly helps in terms of gaining traction with players in NJ. However, three key issues hampered the progress of online gaming in New Jersey during 2014. These include the lack of awareness among many players in New Jersey that online casino games are now fully licensed, regulated and legal. This is due in part to the ill effects of the infamous Black Friday when the DOJ seized the domains of key online poker rooms.
Payments Processing for NJ Online Casinos
Beyond getting the marketing message across, there are very real concerns in the form of payments processing problems. At state level, online casino gaming may be 100% legal but at federal level, banks and other financial entities are still bound by provisions of the UIGEA which prevents them from transferring funds to online gambling businesses. As such, companies like Visa are currently running at a 50% approval rate with transactions. MasterCard transactions are a little better but they are still running at just about 70%. This means that 50% of deposits/withdrawals from Visa are being denied and 30% of deposits/withdrawals from MasterCard are being denied. They are coded in a category known as 7995. In 2015, many of these payments-related issues are likely to change with other big payments processors coming on board. This will result in much higher player participation rates and higher revenues.
Geolocation Tracking Technology
The other issue which hampered online casino gaming in the early stages of its development was geolocation tracking technology. Simply put, players in heavily populated border areas in New Jersey and neighbouring states like New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware were sometimes falsely included/excluded when they should not have been. According to the DGE, only players in New Jersey who are at least 21 years of age can legally play real money casino games.