To the Winner the Spoils? Nevada v New Jersey
There has of course been plenty of news recently regarding the fact that New Jersey has legalized Online Poker. It became such a huge topic possibly due to the fact that it took so long and there were many twists and turns along the way that finally culminated in a conditional veto followed by a signing of the bill. Nevada as we know had been there and done that by becoming the first state to legalize online poker, doing a massive u-turn on its stance just a few years back when any form of online gambling was indeed about to give Nevada an early death. The state now wishes to embrace the world of online gambling and let's face it.....it had little choice. New Jersey being Nevada's East Coast equivalent, on a much smaller scale of course, has seen numbers to its land based casinos dwindle sufficiently over the last few years to make it realize that becoming involved in the online scene is one of the few ways it can save its gambling tax revenue. Those are the basics and we are now in a position in which two State Governors are claiming that there state will be the mecca for online gambling as the US finally realizes that online gambling can be good for the economy.
The Big Differences
Let's take things as they are at the moment. There is much talk of interstate compacts to up liquidity and join hands with other states of a similar mind set, however at present, and for the foreseeable future these don't exist. Even when they do exist the legal side of these will take some time to sort, so we can put them to one side for the moment. From a players perspective there are a few things to consider and one of them is taxes. With Nevada only taking a 6.75 % cut and New Jersey coming in at 15% then Nevada is clearly the better state on this front. There are however far bigger issues other than taxes. Taxes can only come from players and players can only play when things are all up and running and this is where the real battle lies. First comes the software and if you are going to offer online poker to the masses and expect people to stick around and generate that tax revenue, then software and game availability is of paramount importance.
Software Options and Brands in Both States
There is one huge difference here, in that Nevada will not accept any online poker company that did any business at all in the states after UIGEA became law. This, to a certain extent is to appease the Bricks and Mortar giants who felt that their business was in danger from the likes of PokerStars and Full Tilt. So basically these guys will have no option to operate in Nevada for five years. On the other hand, New Jersey has nothing like this in its own bill and therefore existing online poker operations are welcome in the Garden State. So what does this mean for the players? There are many I's to dot and T's to cross as yet but this basically means that recognized tried and tested software from the biggest names in the world of online poker could be seen in New Jersey. Yeah OK, you guessed it, that means Stars and Tilt but there are plenty of other smaller rooms that may be in with a shout. In Nevada however this means starting from scratch. Software is still in the testing phase and what's more it will come from less or even unrecognized brands. That in itself may not be such a bad thing, but a poker room that's known around the world will surely have an advantage.
Liquidity and Tournament Prizes
We are all aware that without liquidity a poker room is left with little chance of survival. New Jersey again takes the lead on this one with a much larger population than Nevada and a rule within the bill that is very different to Nevada's. The bill in Nevada states that to play online poker in the state then you have to be a resident in the state. New Jersey however requires that you are simply in the state and residency is not an issue. This means that poker players from anywhere near New Jersey can pop over the border and play there. That may not sound like such a big deal but there are some very serious online players in the New York and Philly area that may just want to take advantage of this. Hell, some of the huge players may even move there!
In Summary Nevada v New Jersey
In the short term then New Jersey appears to be in a better position to make the most of these new rulings. With a larger population and an even bigger 'wider' population it can create instant liquidity. Add this to the fact that it may open it's doors to the online giants such as Stars and Tilt then Nevada would be left way behind. The pending deal regarding the purchase of the Atlantic Club Casino may have an impact too, bringing even more of an awareness of the brand. That's the short term however the long term may be very different. Let's not forget that Nevada is Nevada! It's built on gambling and they will not want to play second fiddle in all of this. Stand alone the two can't make long term tax revenue and economic boosts, which is really what this is all about and that's where compacts somewhere down the line will have huge impacts. Tax could then be a deciding factor as well as interstate licensing fees and the 'you're with Nevada' factor may come in to play. It's early doors and only time will tell, the good news for everyone is that it's a giant leap forward for the online poker player and the industry as a whole.