NJ Online Gambling is the top information source for safe and secure online casinos, legal and licensed by the New Jersey Department of Gaming Enforcement.
NJ Online Gambling Legislative History
New Jersey’s push to legalize in-state online gambling began in January of 2010, when State Sen. Ray Lesniak (D-Union) introduced bill S 3167, a measure which would allow licensed Atlantic City casinos to offer online poker and online casino games to those inside the Garden State.
The legislation was part of an effort to revitalize New Jersey’s brick-and-mortar casinos, which faced a prolonged decline in revenue due to an economic downturn and competition from neighboring states. To become regulated, iGaming operators would need to pay a $200,000 licensing fee, a yearly payment of $100,000 and would be taxed at a rate of 20%.
In November, S 3167 passed through the Senate by a wide margin of 29-5, but was not put up to a vote in the Assembly that year due to the addition of a last-minute amendment. At the beginning of 2011, the revised bill was passed by both the Assembly (63-11-3) and the Senate (34-2), but was subsequently vetoed by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who worried about the expansion of gambling outside of Atlantic City.
Lesniak, however, claimed the governor’s decision was influenced by casino giant Caesars Entertainment, which was opposed to online gambling at the time.
The Need to Protect Consumers
On April 15, 2011, a day known as Black Friday in the industry, the US Department of Justice successfully blocked the top four online poker sites (Absolute Poker, UB, Full Tilt and PokerStars) from accepting American customers.
When the finances of Absolute Poker, UB and Full Tilt were laid bare, it was revealed that the operators of those sites had not segregated player deposits from operating expenses. As a result, millions of dollars owed to players simply disappeared.
PokerStars, which was the only site targeted by the DOJ that was able to cash out its US players, went on to make a deal with federal authorities to buy Full Tilt and make whole its player base. Absolute Poker and UB players have yet to see a dime of their balances.
UPDATE: An April 2017 development, which surprised pretty much everyone, suggested that players will soon receive part or all of their UB and Absolute Poker balances.
DOJ Opinion Paves the Way for Online Casinos in New Jersey
In December, with the outlook for US online gambling looking as bleak as ever, the Department of Justice issued a critical opinion on the Wire Act, legislation created in 1961 that had been used, somewhat creatively, as the basis to block iGaming in the country. The ruling essentially stated that online betting unrelated to sporting events should not be considered illegal under the legislation.
With the green light from federal officials, Gov. Christie reversed his opposition to iGaming, and Sen. Lesniak got back to work on new legislation. This time around, Lesniak took into account some of Christie’s suggestions, like housing all computer equipment and servers inside Atlantic City-based casinos and outlawing Internet gambling parlors, in crafting his bill.
Final Push and Enactment
Lesniak, along with Senate colleague and cosponsor James Whelen (D – Atlantic City) soon introduced SB S1565 and its companion, AB A2578. The two bills kept the earlier $200,000 licensing fee and $100,000 annual charge, but slashed the tax rate in half to 10%.
In April of 2012, the Senate bill cleared the State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee. Due to a lack of Democratic votes and wavering by Christie, however, Lesniak announced that the bill likely wouldn’t move until the fall.
On December 17, the New Jersey Assembly passed A2578 by a margin of 48-24. A few days later, the Senate approved its companion by an overwhelming 33-3 vote. In February, Christie conditionally vetoed the bill, requesting that lawmakers increase the tax rate, and provide more funds for gambling addiction programs.
Revisions were made to the bill, including increasing the tax rate from 10 to 15%, and it was again passed by the Assembly (68-5) and the Senate (35-1). That same day, Chris Christie signed the bill into law, making New Jersey the third state, behind Nevada and Delaware, to legalize online gambling.
NJ Online Casino Partnerships Take Shape
With the legal hurdles overcome, Atlantic City casinos began to partner off with software providers and apply for iGaming licenses.
PokerStars’ parent company, Rational Group, announced its intention to purchase the ailing Atlantic Club Casino as an inroad into the market. In May of 2013, however, the casino took advantage of a loophole in its contract with Stars and called the deal off, pocketing more than $11 million in investment that the online poker giant had already put into the property.
Its deal with Atlantic Club sunk, PokerStars then turned to its Plan B and partnered with Resorts. In July of 2013, 10 out of Atlantic City’s 12 casinos submitted licensing applications. The two exceptions were Revel, which had recently declared bankruptcy, and the Atlantic Club, which was not able to secure an alternate gambling software partner after its divorce with Rational.
In October, 2013, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) announced that an online gambling “soft launch” would begin on November 21 and last for five days, during which regulators would determine if operators had complied with state laws. Around the same time, PokerStars stated that it would not participate in the launch due to a delay in its application approval.
New Jersey Online Casinos Go Online
On November 26, the DGE gave the green light to Borgata, Caesars, Bally’s, Trump Plaza, Trump Taj Mahal, and Tropicana to open their unrestricted gambling sites to the public. Golden Nugget was held back from the initial launch but was eventually approved and launched in December.
Since the 2013 launch of the NJ online gambling market, several brands that were not initially involved have either opened for business or announced plans to operate in the state:
- Pala Casino, an Indian reservation resort in southern California, launched their online casino and bingo products in 2015 and added a poker site in 2017, all operating under the Borgata license.
- Resorts Casino, which had initially planned to focus its online business around its planned partnership with PokerStars, went live with their own online casino in 2015.
- Mohegan Sun, in partnership with Resorts, launched their online casino brand in 2015.
- Sugarhouse Casino, based in Philadelphia and owned by Rush Street Gaming, opened their online casino in 2016 using the Golden Nugget license.
- PokerStars, the most popular poker site in the majority of markets around the world, was finally approved to go online in New Jersey. Now owned by Amaya Inc., PokerStars brought its poker and casino offerings to market in March 0f 2016.
- MGM announced its intention in 2017 to launch online poker and casino sites in NJ using the playMGM brand. The playMGM NJ online casino launched on August 1st, 2017.
A couple other early market participants have since dropped out or moved to a new license:
- Ultimate Poker, the first ever licensed online poker site in the US, closed up shop less than a year after their New Jersey opening.
- Betfair shut down their NJ poker site in late 2014. Betfair Casino, which had been operating under the defunct Trump Plaza license, began working with Golden Nugget.
Complete 2017 List of NJ Online Casinos
|888 Casino NJ||Caesars|
|Betfair NJ||Golden Nugget|
|Caesars Casino Online>||Caesars|
|Golden Nugget Online||Golden Nugget|
|Harrah's Online Casino>||Caesars|
|Mohegan Sun Online||Resorts|
|Pala Casino Online||Borgata|
|Party Casino NJ||Borgata|
|PokerStars Casino NJ||Resorts|
|Resorts Online Casino||Resorts|
|SugarHouse Online||Golden Nugget|
|Virgin Casino Online||Tropicana|
Online Gambling in New Jersey – Frequently Asked Questions
Is online gambling legal in New Jersey?
Yes! New Jersey passed a law in 2013 that legalized online gambling within state borders.
However, there are also many illegal gambling websites that operate in New Jersey, where there is no guarantee the games are fair.
Make sure the online casinos and poker sites you play on are authorized by the NJ Department of Gaming Enforcement. All sites listed on NJOnlineGambling.com are legal and licensed by the state.
What games are available on legal New Jersey online casinos?
NJ online casinos feature a wide variety of games including online slots, blackjack, video poker, roulette, craps and 90-ball bingo. A small, but growing, number of casinos are offering live dealer table games.
There are also six online poker sites available in the state.
How do I know the games in New Jersey are fair?
NJ online gambling is overseen by multiple regulatory agencies, which ensure the safety and fairness of the sites’ offerings.
If a player suspects they’ve been a victim of unfair play, they have the right to place a complaint with the DGE.
What are the best NJ online gambling websites?
NJOnlineGambling.com has a team of New Jersey-based reviewers who have thoroughly combed through the best and worst of what each site has to offer. Our favorites are as follows:
Top 5 New Jersey Online Casinos
- Virgin Casino
- Borgata Online Casino
- Tropicana Online Casino
- Resorts Online Casino
- Pala Online Casino
Why do some websites advertise online gaming sites that are not authorized by the DGE?
Many online gambling sites operate from loosely-regulated offshore locations. There are numerous instances of offshore casinos having game fairness issues, or worse, being shut down by unfriendly governments, with customers losing all the money in their accounts.
NJOnlineGambling.com only advertises sites that are legal and licensed in New Jersey, but some other informational websites advertise illegal offshore casinos. We recommend avoiding those sites.
Is it easy to get money on and off New Jersey sites?
Yes! You can even deposit and withdraw at land-based casinos in Atlantic City!
Check out our banking guide for more information.
Can I play on my mobile device?
Yes, every legal NJ gambling site has a mobile app. See our mobile casino apps guide for more information.