New Jersey Improves Geolocation Technology, Eases Border Regulations
In the months after online gambling was legalized in New Jersey, players near the borders of the state sometimes had trouble getting their geolocation technology to work properly. If a player had a mobile device or a desktop computer near one of the boundaries of the state, this technology often failed.
Many observers believed this was one of the reasons signups were lower than people expected in the opening month of licensed online casinos and iPoker rooms. When you consider that outlying areas of the New York City Metropolitan Area (such as Jersey City and Newark) and the Philadelphia Metropolitan Area (Camden) fall into the troubled areas, much of the population of New Jersey was affected by the geolocation issues.
Officials and gaming executives have worked together to solve the problems. In weeks past, new booster devices were issued to gamblers who’ve had problems, allowing more registrants to play week after week. Now the issue is close to being solved, due to the influx of new devices and an easing of enforcement to help facilitate play. The geolocation buffer has been moved to assure people on the right side of the Delaware River are allowed to gamble online.
888 Holdings CEO Praises the Program
CEO Brian Mattingly of 888 Holdings has been pleased with the post-rollout implementation of new technologies and new rules. When asked by reporters for a comment on the geolocation fiasco, Mattingly said, “By allowing us a little bit more flexibility and easing the tolerance in that distance, it made it significantly better in the second and third month.”
While critics have pointed to the geolocation problems as a sign of poor execution and leadership, the various interested parties have worked closely together to create solutions to the problem. Several months out, few players have reason to complain about site registration problems or gameplay issues.
Geolocation Vendors Were Helpful
Kerry Langan, a spokesperson for the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, “We have worked with the geolocation vendors and casinos to enhance the technology to make it more accurate and reliable, and to reduce false negatives.”
The false negatives would indicate a potential player was inside New York State or Pennsylvania, making them ineligible to gamble inside New Jersey. Only residents of New Jersey–or those playing at an IP address inside the state–can gamble legally online in New Jersey.
Philadelphia-Camden Area the Most Troublesome
According to officials, the biggest problems happened in the Philadelphia-Camden area. The Delaware River which separates New Jersey from Pennsylvania seemed to cause problems for regulators wanting to enforce the geolocation buffer. A large number of potential iGamers in Camden were denied access to casinos like Borgata Online, because the technology showed them logging on from Pennsylvania. Those problems are largely fixed at this point.
Interstate Gaming Possible Eventually
Eventually, laws may be changed to allow interstate gambling. Nevada and Delaware already have agreed to share player lists when it comes to online poker. They signed a compact and invited other states to join, so this is an option for New Jersey. Due to its larger population, New Jersey has declined to do so, for now.
As more states legalize online gambling, it’s thought more states will decide to sign on to the interstate iPoker compact. Eventually, this might lead to similar trends with the online casinos, though this might be slower, since many online casino table games work just as well without a table full of real gamblers.
Big Jackpots Lure More Players
One reason for hope is the recent surge of record jackpots on Borgata’s progressive slot machines. The lure of big jackpots does a lot to bring interest to online and offline gaming, much like record jackpots bring in a bigger crowd for lottery gaming. The recent publicity about big winners has observers hopeful that more gamblers will sign up on the websites or come to enjoy the slot machines on the Boardwalk casinos.
While the state of New Jersey is expected to bring in tax revenues of about $200 million in 2014, according to Fitch Ratings. Financial experts believe this number could grow to $500 million to $700 million in future years, as more gambling operations come online, players become more comfortable with legal online gambling, and technological glitches like the geolocation issue become a thing of the past.
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