Online Poker Affiliates Receive Wake Up Call In New Jersey MarketMay 22, 2014 5:53 pm
Even though online poker continues to be unregulated in all but three of the USA’s fifty states, American players across the country are still able to access the various offshore sites, often by way of affiliate websites.
Whereas this grey market is seen as a lifeline by the numerous online poker players who were suddenly cut off from the game post Black Friday, for the regulated states of Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey offshore operators are seen as a significant threat to their nascent igaming industries. In fact, the threat of possible retaliatory litigation was enough for the Merge and the Winning Poker Network to quit New Jersey and Nevada’s online poker markets, although Bovada continues to offer its services in these regulated states.
In its efforts to further clamp down on unlicensed, offshore sites, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) has now sent out cease and desist letters to six major affiliates, requesting that they “immediately remove any online gaming links that are not authorized under federal law or under the law of any state.”
The affiliates targeted include PokerSource.com, CardsChat.com, Pokersites.com, RakeBrain.com, RaketheRake.com, and commenting on its surprise move, DGE spokeswomen Kerry Langan imparted to OnlinePokerReport.com that “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.”
Offshore, unregulated sites have long enjoyed an unfair advantage over their licensed counterparts, which must adhere to a strict list of requirements including rigid verification checks, limited payment processing options, restricted geological participation by gamblers, as well as the need to pay state taxes. The DGE’s latest manoeuvre targeting affiliates is thus viewed as a key way by which the state can protect its legitimate websites from the unfair advantage enjoyed by offshore operators, whilst also protecting the state’s nascent igaming industry and its potential tax windfalls.
One particular letter sent by the DGE to affiliate RaketheRake.com specifically mentions removing links for the following websites, namely Bovada Poker, Merge Gaming, Black Chip Poker, and America’s Cardroom. So far just PokerSource.com appears to have complied with the directive, although over the coming weeks more affiliates are likely to follow suit or face potential litigation by New Jersey authorities.