Bovada No Longer Accepting New Jersey Poker PlayersMay 29, 2014 6:10 pm
Increasingly frustrated with the performance of its nascent online gambling industry, earlier this month the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) decided to go after those US affiliates promoting unlicensed online poker websites. As well as numerous technical issues which have affected the industry, the DGE sees the legion of unregulated offshore sites operating within its market as a major drain on its potential igaming revenues.
Previously, operators such as FullFlushPoker, the Merge Gaming Network, Winning Poker Network, and Equity Poker Network had already decided to bow out of NJ’s regulated market in the US. As a result of the cease-and-desist letters the DGE sent out to affiliates recently, it appears major brand Bovada has also chosen to review its stance, although at this point the company said it would continue to offer its product to existing customers. As Bovada wrote in an official company statement:
“Our partner brand Bovada.lv has chosen to stop new account registrations for residents of the state of New Jersey. Existing account holders will not be affected. This is a decision they have taken of their own volition and they hope that their existing customers continue to enjoy all of the products and services Bovada.lv has to offer.”
Although a tentative half-step, analysts belive Bovada’s move is designed to act as a protective measure against any future potential litigation by authorities.
Currently, New Jersey igaming is dominated by Party Borgata and WSOP.com which have an average of 150 and 120 cash game players respectively, equivalent to a combined 81% of NJ’s online poker market. Meanwhile, Bovada has continued to operate within the USA’s grey market and boasts around 1,400 players at any one time spread across the whole of the country. Not surprisingly, as well as enjoying an advantage over Party Borgata and WSOP.com, NJ’s other regulated sites have all but been shut out of the state on account of Bovada’s presence.
Commenting on its recent decision to insist affiliates “immediately remove any online gaming links that are not authorized under federal law or under the law of any state,” New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement Kerry Langan, explained:
“We believe this [promoting unregulated sites] may either taint legitimate sites by associating them with the illegal ones, and conversely may lend the appearance that these illegal sites are affiliated with authorized sites.”