Today marks the beginning of the soft launch period for online gaming in New Jersey. What that technically means is that only invited players can access real money gaming and only during pre-defined hours. For instance, on the first day of the soft launch players will only be able to play from 6pm until 2am. Each day players will be allowed to play progressively longer until online gaming is available round the clock. Then, assuming everything goes as planned, the “hard” launch date will be the 26th.
Just as the WSOP launch in Nevada marked a milestone in online poker history, today is another important day in the progress of regulated online poker in the US.
While there were many similarities with the launch in Nevada, there are also some key differences. The Nevada Gaming Control Board (GCB) and the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) have taken different approaches to regulation of online gaming which offers some interesting challenges in the marketplace.
But these differences also showcase the fact that regulated operators can adapt to a variety of different requirements and evolving technologies.
Opponents of online gaming consistently raise fears which previously could only be countered with theoretical measures. But until someone actually implements those safeguards in a real-world environment, it’s all just talk.
With each new state that roles out regulated gaming, we get the opportunity to demonstrate that online gaming can be offered in a responsible manner.
Also, when you move from theoretical and get into implementation you find ways to improve. Technologies get better. Additional vendors enter the market. More minds get focused on producing better solutions.
And as the experience becomes more refined and people see that online gaming can be offered responsibly it encourages a change in public perception. Opponents of online gaming will find it increasingly difficult to trot out old arguments that have proven to be unfounded.
So today is an important day for online poker because every state that legalizes and regulates online poker makes US-wide legalization and regulation more likely to happen.