In less than a week official online gaming will be launched in the state of New Jersey.
In preparations for the launch that begins its trial period today November 21st, 2013, the state is setting up a digital fence to prevent anyone who is not physically in New Jersey to place online bets.
As a result of building these fences, residents who are located near New Jersey’s borders with neighboring states, New York, Pennsylvania, and Delaware will not be able to place bets online. These “No-Play Zones” show the strict regulations that New Jersey is imposing on online gaming. The creation of these zones does not seem to be of much concern to the casinos and operators, who are to be protected by the digital fence. The fence will prevent any illegal gaming, and assure that the casinos are not fined, or worse, lose their license.
While New Jersey is making sure the players are in the state, New Jersey Senator Ray Lesniak, who proposed the initial bill to legalize internet gaming in 2011, will present a new bill proposal tomorrow allowing other countries to play in New Jersey-based internet casinos. According to a press release from Monday, Lesniak will propose a new bill aiming to allow the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement to issue Restricted Foreign Internet Wagering (RFIW) permits allowing operators to accept wages from foreign countries where online gaming is legal.
The bill will not contradict the licenses that have already been issued, and operators who are granted the RFIW permit will not be able to provide services within New Jersey, or the United States in general. The bill will show that any RFIW permitted operator will need to be physically located in the state of New Jersey, pay an initial fee of $200,000, a $100,000 permit renewal fee, and will be taxed 10% of the gross gaming revenue, and will need to contribute to a state fund benefiting New Jersey’s racetracks.
Online gaming in the US is gaining acceptance with next week’s New Jersey offering, and with Nevada and Delaware already offering internet gambling to their residents. 2014 is expected to show more US states joining in, and talks of interstate gambling show that nationwide gambling may become a reality. With the growing acceptance, some US financial institutions seem to not be so keen on the idea. Numerous reports have shown that several US based financial institutions have stated that they will not be accepting transactions made from of online casinos. Bank of America, American Express, Wells Fargo, and PayPal have come out and stated that they will not be processing online gambling related transactions from the legalized states.
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PayPal already has a strict policy against internet gambling, but has added that “these Policies are subject to change”. Bank of America has also mentioned that they are reviewing the possibility of accepting such transactions, but currently they will not. American Express and Wells Fargo were less optimistic, by simply stating that they will not be approving any transactions that are linked to online casinos.
While MasterCard and Visa approve of online gaming transactions, numerous Nevada residents have claimed that they are experiencing issues when placing transactions. A spokesperson for Visa did mention, “Visa has updated its procedures to code newly legalized internet gambling transactions so that financial institutions can identify and process them in states where they are allowed”.
It seems that the US is torn between those who approve of online gaming, and those who are refraining from associating themselves with the industry. Most likely, these companies are fearful from liability issues that may arise from illegal play. Until the US government instills unified cross-state legislation, we are most likely to continue to hear more on contradicting issues in the US gaming industry.
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