New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement Considers Liquidity-Sharing with United Kingdom
David Rebuck, the Director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, recently sent a letter to New Jersey gaming companies with UK operations, according to Global Gaming Business. The letter asked the operators for how a liquidity-sharing system can be installed.
The letter is indication that New Jersey’s DGE once again is looking into a player-sharing deal with the United Kingdom. David Rebuck has negotiated with Nevada and the United Kingdom about player liquidity agreements, but has never got the proper agreement. This time, it appears the DGE is a little more serious in its approach.
63 Million Potential Gamblers
Global Gaming Business published the contents of the letter, which said, “With nine million people in New Jersey, and more than 63 million in the United Kingdom, this would mean a massive increase in liquidity for New Jersey operators. Even when you discount children and non-gamblers, it gives us access to a market that is very familiar with online gaming. That number is one-fifth of the total US population.”
New Jersey’s chief regulator admitted that any such plan still faces a lot of obstacles. Rebuck wrote to the various gaming companies, “We’d still have to figure out lots of issues: specific regulations, how the tax rate from each jurisdiction would be applied, player ID and geolocation issues, and other things we probably haven’t even considered yet. But you have to start somewhere.”
£103.4 Million in Poker Revenues
Still, the advantages for such a deal are obvious. The UK last year collected £103.4 million in poker revenues. New Jersey collected $10.5 million in poker revenues, which equals £8.1 million in post-Brexit British pounds. The UK would increase New Jersey’s player pool by more than 12x what it is now.
Rebuck addressed why no deal with Nevada has ever happened, despite Nevada having an interstate poker compact with Delaware. Recently, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval expressed shock that the two states have never signed an agreement.
Of the impasse, David Rebuck said, “We’ve talked to Nevada but the fact we’re limited to one operator makes it a difficult proposition to make to our other operators.”
Why Delaware and Nevada Are Less Important
Delaware has 3 online poker sites, which are tied to Dover Downs, Delaware Park, and Harrington Racecourse. Given the small populations of Nevada and Delaware, their poker communities are comparable. New Jersey has 2 and 1/2 times the population of Nevada and Delaware combined, so they have never seen fit to sign onto the compact.
Besides the size of the player pools, there are other reasons to think the United Kingdom makes more sense. Signing a deal with the United Kingdom holds out the hope of sharing online casino liquidity, too. Nevada only has legal online poker, but no online casino gaming.
PokerStars Impact Still Not Felt
The 2016 numbers should be better for New Jersey than ever before, because of the inclusion of PokerStars for a full year for the first time. In a few months of operations, the Resorts Casino/PokerStars combination already has surpassed the number of the previous Top 2 in the NJ industry, Borgata/BwinParty and Caesars/Harrah’s/888 Poker.
Another reason a UK-New Jersey deal would make sense is the companies underpinning the New Jersey gaming industry have long histories in the United Kingdom. Also, New Jersey regulators have been dealing with those companies for 3 years, so they are likely to be more comfortable with their operations.