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Playing Online Poker in the State of New Jersey

New Jersey
New Jersey Flag

New Jersey is a very interesting state, because it is one of the few that has regulated poker via that state government. However, just because there is regulated New Jersey online poker, this does not mean that all players should go flocking to it as though it were the only game in town. Offshore sites are still a very real and legitimate option for all players and can be exceptionally enticing for those who don’t want to be trapped by small fields, bad software, small stakes, and the other issues that have plagued the roll out of regulated online poker in New Jersey.

It is true that some sites have decided that it is not worth the risk of offering games to those who reside in the state’s borders, but that is not true for all networks. There are still many great options available to players within the borders of the state, and players should very seriously consider these offshore sites for better rewards, and thus more money, than they could possibly get by playing on regulated sites. Below, we outline the best options for these players and where you can make the most money!

 

 

What Online Poker Sites Can I Play in New Jersey?

Due to New Jersey's prohibitive legal climate for offshore poker entities, the rooms that remain in the state are less numerous than in some other parts of the country. Still, you do have several to pick from. We've compiled all the relevant information on the reputable New Jersey online poker organizations and have presented it below so that you can make a well-informed decision. Regardless of which one you choose, you'll enjoy speedy payouts, well-designed software, and honest games.

 

        Chico Network

Image of Chico Network's Advantages

The games at Sportsbetting.ag are pretty soft because it's an all-in-one gambling operation that has heavy crossover sportsbetting and casino traffic. When you create your account at this Chico Poker Network site, you'll be greeted with a 100% up to $2,500 poker bonus!

Sportsbetting.ag Poker: Play Now cta Banner

Sportsbetting.ag has poker applications for Windows and Mac machines, so you can download whichever one is appropriate. There's also a stellar mobile app that works with iOS and Android devices. This mobile interface provides basically the same gameplay experience as the full desktop package, a rarity in the industry.

No Limit Texas Hold'em and Pot Limit Omaha are both present at blind levels from $0.01/$0.02 to $5/$10, and there's some PLO-8 action to be had albeit at a more restricted range of stakes. For sit-n-goes, you get to pick your buyin from $0.05 up to $500 + $25, and there's a lot of participation in all but the highest levels. The multi-table tournament lobby isn't quite as robust, and most contests are priced at $33 and lower. There is one larger tourney of note: the $90 + $9 $50,000 guaranteed Main Event on Sunday, which is beefed up to a $100 + $9 buyin and $100,000 guarantee on the final Sunday of each month.

There are several ways that Sportsbetting.ag rewards its players. There's a comp points program that allows you to trade in your points for MTT buyins at a rate equal to approximately 5% of the rake and fees you've paid. In addition, three leaderboards grace the website of Sportsbetting, and they pay out a total of $20,000 each week to the top cash gamers, sit-n-go players, and tournament fans.

Banner Highlights CTA for Sportsbetting.ag

To get started at SB.ag today, click the banner link above. Read our review of the Sportsbetting.ag poker division to educate yourself a bit before you open your account. You may wish to investigate sister site BetOnline as well.

 

        Grand Network

Positive features of 5Dimes

5Dimes has been a trusted online bookmaker for more than a decade, and you can confide in the dependability of its poker room too. It's the leading site on the Grand Poker Network, a relatively new poker destination that only opened its doors in 2014. Despite its newness, this site has created poker software solutions for Mac, PC, iOS, Android, and almost every other common computing platform in use today.

The ring games at 5Dimes extend from $0.05/$0.10 to $1/$2. While this may not appeal to high-rollers, it's more than adequate for most players. More problematic is the limited amount of traffic with only a handful of active tables going at any one time. Yet, what games do run tend to be pretty profitable due to the inexperience of the opponents. Savvy professional players are scarce on the ground here, so you'll have the fish largely to yourself.

Tournaments are pretty remunerative here, despite the fact that the highest buyin is $5.50, because there are a few contests every day that don't charge any house fees. There's also a $500 freeroll every Sunday. Additionally, you'll get 50% rakeback when you follow our links and set up a new account.

5Dimes Signup CTA Banner

For lucrative games and enviable rakeback, follow the banner above to join 5Dimes today. To get a better understanding of what to expect, consult our thorough Grand Network overview page.

 

Nitrogen Poker

Nitrogen Sports added support for poker several years ago, and now you can participate in sports, casino, and poker games with one account. Nitrogen eschews the use of fiat currencies, like the U.S. dollar, and instead conducts all cashier functions and gameplay in Bitcoins. One chip is worth 1/1000 of a Bitcoin. Nitrogen's payouts are among the speediest in the business, sometimes taking as little as a couple of hours to be processed. The software runs on the web, so you can access it through any machine that has a modern web browser.

The tables here are heavily concentrated at microstakes, but there is some shorthanded play from time to time at higher levels. There are frequent guaranteed tournaments here, and although the total prize pools are on the smaller side, there are plenty of overlays to take advantage of. You'll be rewarded for your time at the tables with weekly freerolls that are open to those who have accumulated a sufficient number of hands in the preceding seven days, and the Nitro rewards system will issue you free mBTC credits and complimentary bets to use in the sportsbook.

Sign up today at Nitrogen Sports!

Registering for your new account is a piece of cake when you click the “Play Now” button above. You can find out more about this poker room in our accurate Nitrogen Sports Poker review.

 

SwCPoker

Desirable Attributes of SwCPoker image

As the current incarnation of the site formerly known as Seals With Clubs, today's SwCPoker continues the tradition of Bitcoin poker established by its forebear. There's no need to worry about exchange rates or banking fees because this room uses Bitcoin and only Bitcoin for all its functions with one chip being equal to 0.001 BTC. No personally identifying documentation in needed to cash out here, so you can preserve your anonymity.

SwC hosts perhaps the widest variety of game types of any internet poker site. Not only will you see the NLHE and PLO that are present virtually everywhere, but you'll also get to sample Razz, Limit O8, HORSE, 12-game, Open Face Chinese Poker, and plenty of other formats. You might have to be willing to sit at empty or heads-up tables to get games to actually start up, but you'll receive 50% rakeback on all your two- and three-handed play. Furthermore, the Krill rewards scheme will give you a rakeback credit once a week, and the percentage will grow higher and higher as you keep playing over the lifetime of your account.

SwC Poker's Play Now CTA

You can get set up at SwCPoker easily by following the above banner. If you want to know more, then browse over to our comprehensive review of SwC.

 


 

Selecting a Good Site for Online Poker in New Jersey

Depending on your own individual feelings and preferences, one or another of the sites listed above will be right for you. This isn't a decision we can make for you because what one person may find an excellent choice might lead to disappointment in someone else. We can, however, present you with a series of considerations to think about as you weigh the different poker rooms against each other in your mind.

! If you're in the market for a busy lobby with many populated tables, then the Chico Network has the high levels of traffic you seek.


! If you wish to play in bitcoins, then you'll probably be satisfied with either Nitrogen Sports Poker or SwCPoker.


! If you're looking to play many different forms of poker at the same site, then SwCPoker's diverse selection of games is for you.


! If you want to play via a mobile or Mac, then Chico, Grand, and Nitrogen will permit you to do so.


! If you enjoy poker games other than Hold'em and Omaha, then SwCPoker has the most extensive lineup of them.


! If you want a large initial boost to your bankroll, then Chico's $2,500 bonus is sized appropriately.

 

Payout Report

Dollars and Coins

There's no reason to worry about the provisions of the UIGEA law when it comes to moving your money onto or off of internet poker sites because all these firms have found workarounds. You can deposit with credit cards or money transfers and request your winnings via check. However, the crypto-currency Bitcoin may be the best cashier method to use because it carries low fees and enables speedier transactions. If you're not quite sure how to use BTC for your online poker transactions, then we've put together a helpful guide to Bitcoin poker that may be worth a read through.

 

Online Poker Law in New Jersey

Legal Reference Book

As one of the largest states in terms of legalized real money gaming activity, both online and offline, it makes sense that New Jersey has designed its laws to heavily discourage unauthorized gambling. However, the bulk of the provisions apply to those organizing and hosting illicit games, not the individual players therein. Unfortunately, the New Jersey Revised Statutes are a mishmash of old language amended and updated several times over the years along with completely new clauses that have been added by legislation. Let's take a look at the statutes that apply to individual players.

There's an old ordinance, 2A:40-1, that's still active (in theory), which says:

All wagers, bets or stakes made to depend upon any race or game, or upon any gaming by lot or chance, or upon any lot, chance, casualty or unknown or contingent event, shall be unlawful.

It's not clear whether or not poker is included as “gaming by lot or chance,” and there's no explanatory language accompanying this wording to give us a clue as to what the lawmakers were thinking when they drafted this sentence. In any event, there's no punishment prescribed for violating this law, and it dates from 1951, so it's probably superseded by newer additions to the New Jersey codes.

The more recent laws found in 2C:37 go into considerably more depth and detail regarding gambling. In 2C:37-1, there are several important definitions that we must consult if we wish to understand how the law impacts playing poker online in the State of New Jersey:

a. "Contest of chance" means any contest, game, pool, gaming scheme or gaming device in which the outcome depends in a material degree upon an element of chance, notwithstanding that skill of the contestants or some other persons may also be a factor therein.
b. "Gambling" means staking or risking something of value upon the outcome of a contest of chance or a future contingent event not under the actor's control or influence, upon an agreement or understanding that he will receive something of value in the event of a certain outcome.

We see that placing “something of value” upon the result of a “contest of chance” counts as gambling, and the wording involved in determining what's considered a contest of chance uses the much-maligned Material Element Test. As renowned gaming attorney Erica Okerberg explained in a paper, this test is really in the eye of the beholder, so the authorities could consider poker to be a skill game or a chance one based on little more than their whim. As we'll shortly see, this doesn't really matter very much for New Jersey online poker enthusiasts.

The main law on the books that seeks to restrict and punish disallowed forms of gambling is 2C:37-2, which outlines the way the state handles promoting gambling:

a. Promoting Gambling Defined. A person is guilty of promoting gambling when he knowingly:
(1) Accepts or receives money or other property, pursuant to an agreement or understanding with any person whereby he participates or will participate in the proceeds of gambling activity; or
(2) Engages in conduct, which materially aids any form of gambling activity. Such conduct includes but is not limited to conduct directed toward the creation or establishment of the particular game, contest, scheme, device or activity involved, toward the acquisition or maintenance of premises, paraphernalia, equipment or apparatus therefor, toward the solicitation or inducement of persons to participate therein, toward the actual conduct of the playing phases thereof, toward the arrangement of any of its financial or recording phases, or toward any other phase of its operation.

The subsequent paragraphs detail the various penalties for violating this law in specific ways. Fines can reach as high as $35,000, and there's also the possibility of imprisonment for up to five years. Lest you be worrying about these heavy consequences and pondering whether or not you're inadvertently promoting gambling by engaging in card play over the internet, let's look at the end of 2C:37-2 where we see that:

c. It is a defense to a prosecution under subsection a. that the person participated only as a player. It shall be the burden of the defendant to prove by clear and convincing evidence his status as such player.

So as a regular player, you're totally fine playing NJ online poker and aren't subject to prosecution. Moreover, if we refer back to the definitions that pertain to this area of the NJ laws, we encounter the following:

c. "Player" means a person who engages in any form of gambling solely as a contestant or bettor, without receiving or becoming entitled to receive any profit therefrom other than personal gambling winnings, and without otherwise rendering any material assistance to the establishment, conduct or operation of the particular gambling activity. A person who gambles at a social game of chance on equal terms with the other participants therein does not thereby render material assistance to the establishment, conduct or operation of such game if he performs, without fee or remuneration, acts directed toward the arrangement or facilitation of the game, such as inviting persons to play, permitting the use of premises therefor or supplying cards or other equipment used therein. A person who engages in "bookmaking" as defined in this section is not a "player."

This indicates that running home games is perfectly legal as long as you don't take a rake, entrance fee, or any other charges for organizing or managing them. Other crimes listed in this part of the legal code include possession of gambling records, maintenance of a gambling resort, possession of a gambling device, and lottery offenses. You might be wondering how the Garden State, and Atlantic City in particular, could have earned its reputation as a live gambling mecca while such harsh restrictions are in effect against firms offering real money gaming services. Well, the key to this seeming discrepancy lies in the nonapplicability clause of this chapter (2C:37-9):

Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prohibit any activity authorized by the "Casino Control Act" (P.L.1977, c. 110; C. 5:12-1 et seq.), or to supersede any provision of said act.

So the laws we've been talking about don't apply to licensed gambling in New Jersey. When we turn to the section referenced in the above text (C5:12-1) we discover the reasons for the licensure of casinos and an overview of the way the state handles this issue. Subsequent provisions of the law tackle the composition of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission and Division of Gaming Enforcement, fees and taxes, casino license criteria, Internet gaming, and many other diverse topics.

Offering internet gaming in contravention of the law carries a fine as high as $25,000 in case it's a “natural person” committing the offense along with imprisonment of up to 18 months. If it's someone other than a natural person, i.e., a corporation, who's found guilty, then the fine can jump as high as $100,000. Other states also have rules criminalizing offshore wagering services that cater to their residents, but NJ is one of the few that actually attempts to enforce them. This undoubtedly ties into the fact that it's the state with the largest licensed online gambling market, and so it wishes to divert traffic to those sites that it's able to grab some tax revenue from. Online poker, casino, and sports operators have crunched the numbers, and many of them have decided to exit the state rather than face possible enforcement actions. There are, however, a few companies that aren't afraid of the situation and have opted to accept New Jerseyites as customers come what may.

 

 

New Jersey's Gambling History

Blue Information Button

Among all 13 of the original colonies of the United States, New Jersey has, since its inception, been perhaps the most well-disposed toward gambling. Nobody quite knows why this is, but one theory holds that its diverse and heterogeneous populace was less susceptible to the influence of religious-minded authorities than in the other colonies. It's true that New Jersey was first settled by Dutch and Swedish immigrants and then grew through the addition of newcomers from the other colonies, so this idea does have some weight behind it.

Old New Jersey Lottery Ticket
Old New Jersey Lottery Ticket

Whatever the case may be, lotteries were prevalent during 18th century NJ. During times of war, they were used to raise funds to support the troops, and when all was peaceful, they enabled the construction of buildings and other civic improvements. This practice continued after independence especially when seeking funds for educational institutions, like Queen's College, which is today known as Rutgers University.

Lotteries developed a reputation for mismanagement and outright scams during the first half of the 19th century, and they were banned in New Jersey in 1844. Other forms of gambling were still OK though, like racetrack wagering. Freehold Raceway is the oldest racetrack still in existence in the United States, having emerged as a popular track in NJ during the 1830s. Throughout the years, regardless of the legality or illegality of the pastime, people have found ways to put their money down on the ponies at Freehold.

Atlantic City was founded in 1854 and grew rapidly during the latter half of the 19th century as upscale New Yorkers and Philadelphians took their summer vacations there, lured by the beaches and luxurious hotels that appeared. However, New Jersey banned all forms of gambling in 1897, meaning that these visitors with money to burn could no longer do it at the gaming tables. This didn't stop hotelier Louis Kuehnle, who maintained illicit gambling operations at his hotel and got away with it through his political connections.

Nucky Johnson
Enoch L. “Nucky” Johnson
Boss of Atlantic City 1910s - 1941

Kuehnle was small fry compared to his successor in Atlantic City political corruption, Enoch L. “Nucky” Johnson. Upon Keuhnle's conviction for corruption, Johnson inherited his position as secretary of the Atlantic County Republican Executive Committee. Using this office as a springboard to political power, he took control of the local government. Nucky Johnson allowed vice establishments to flourish while accepting kickbacks from them. During the Prohibition era, booze and betting action could be had in “The World's Playground” largely through his efforts. A lot of people in his situation would have at least attempted to keep a low profile, but not Nucky Johnson. He once boasted:

We have whiskey, wine, women, song and slot machines. I won’t deny it and I won’t apologize for it. If the majority of the people didn’t want them they wouldn’t be profitable and they would not exist.

To get a feeling for this time and place, you can watch the HBO television series “Boardwalk Empire,” which ran for five seasons. Alas, Enoch Johnson got in trouble with the feds and was convicted of tax evasion in 1941. While there was no problem with selling alcohol by this time, it was a different story with gambling, which was still against the law. After the gambling dens were shut down, Atlantic City's fortunes declined and it was no longer a premier East Coast vacation destination.

In 1939, pari-mutuel betting on horse races was reinstated, and a 1953 referendum to allow charitable bingo and raffles was passed by voters. In 1970, the New Jersey Lottery was approved. None of these forms of real money gaming helped Atlantic City much though because they were statewide rather than local. However, in 1976, the city would be reinvigorated by the decision to allow casinos to open up. The first such establishment, Resorts International, opened its doors in 1978, and today there are eight casinos in the state.

By the 2010s, AC was fading fast as neighboring states had begun to open up casinos of their own, driving down demand for New Jersey gambling. In Feb. 2013, the state passed legislation allowing for legal, licensed online casinos and poker rooms. The first NJ online gambling operations launched later the same year.

 

Online Poker Regulation in New Jersey

Document on Blue Background

Online poker regulation has already happened in New Jersey with the passage of A2578, sponsored by State Senator Ray Lesniak, in 2013. All companies seeking to offer their services under the provisions of this regime must partner with an Atlantic City brick-and-mortar casino, and the game servers must be located within the casino. Only players physically inside state borders are allowed to play, but this includes visitors as well as residents.

The unfortunate thing for New Jersey is that regulated online poker has not gone nearly as well as they had hoped. Much of this likely is caused by initially outsized revenue expectations because when you consider the population of the state, it is unlikely that the amount of money that was eagerly anticipated could ever have realistically materialized. One thing that could really help the regulated market would be if a partnership between Nevada and New Jersey regulated online poker player pools actually happened, but there has been very little movement on this, and we don’t expect this to change any time soon. Another longshot idea is being advanced by Senator Lesniak: a proposal to internationalize the player pool by allowing non-NJ residents to play.

 

Land Based Gambling

New Jersey hosts a full array of gambling types. There are three racetracks as well as seven off-track wagering halls where you can partake in pari-mutuel betting. The New Jersey Lottery sells scratch-off tickets and offers draw games, including several that span across multiple states, like Powerball and Mega Millions. Charitable gaming is also permitted, such as bingo, raffles, and casino nights, although they're subject to the review of the New Jersey Legalized Games of Chance Control Commission.

Logo of the Borgata Casino

The type of gambling that's most noteworthy within the state is casino play. There are no tribal casinos, and there aren't as many commercial casinos as you might expect. Unlike in most other states with regulated gambling, all of the Garden State's casinos are located in one place, Atlantic City, so they're all direct competitors with each other. There are only eight casinos, fewer than there were a decade ago. The unquestioned best cardroom is housed within the Borgata. It has 85 tables, featuring NL Hold'em, LHE, Pot Limit Omaha, Seven Card Stud, and mixed games. The blinds sometimes rise above $40/$80 depending on player demand.

 

Conclusion

There aren't any laws that prevent you from savoring online poker in New Jersey. The fully legalized state sites have their niche, for sure, but you may wish to expand your options by joining up at an offshore New Jersey online poker company. This will grant you access to more sizeable player volume as you attempt to amass chips in the cash games or tournaments you like best.

 

 

Do you have an address in a nearby state?

Map of New Jersey and Neighbors

If you are lucky enough to have another address in a nearby state, be it your business address, summer home, second apartment, family home, etc, you may have other online poker options available to you.  Here are a list of the states that border Maryland and Professional Rakeback's review on each of them: Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, Virginia,  and Delaware. If none of these states are of particular interest to you, then perhaps you can gain the insight you seek with our guide to USA online poker.

You may have friends, family members, and acquaintences who are fans of live poker but who don't know much about the online version of the game. Kindly consider sharing this page with them to spread knowlege about internet card games and help relieve their ignorance.

 

 


We strive to maintain this information and update it frequently with our research. However, we are not immune to making mistakes or omitting information that you, dear reader, may find of use. If you have any further questions not addressed in this guide or have noted any discrepancies or inaccuracies we urge you to contact us with your questions and concerns so that we may swiftly address them!