Top New Jersey Online Poker Rooms as of May 2015
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Can I Play Online Poker from New Jersey?
Since November 2013, online poker has been legal in New Jersey. Bill A2578 was passed in NJ with the synopsis of “Authorizes Internet wagering at Atlantic City casinos under certain circumstances”. This lead to various casinos opening online rooms offering Internet poker and casino games.
Online poker is legal in New Jersey! However, you may not know where to play. Which site should you sign up for? How can you get the best deal? FTR has been in the online poker industry for over 10 years and have reviewed hundreds of poker sites, so we know what to look for. When we reviewed the new NJ online poker rooms, we were looking out for you – the player. To help save your time, we have compiled what we feel to be the best of the best. If you have any questions about online poker in New Jersey, see our FAQ below.
New Jersey Online Poker: FAQ
Is online poker really legal in New Jersey?
Yes. Bill A2578 was passed in NJ allowing internet wagering, including poker.
What are the best NJ online poker rooms?
While each room has their own pros and cons, we feel the top choice is Borgata Poker due to their trustworthy brand, great software, mobile client, and bonus offers.
Can I play for real money if I don’t live in New Jersey?
Yes, but only if you are physically located within the state borders. For example, if you live in Pennsylvania and take a weekend trip to Atlantic City, you could signup and play real money poker online while in NJ. However, when you return back home, you would not be able to login and play.
How do the poker rooms verify my location?
This is done through your cell phone. When creating an account, you provide your cell phone number. The poker room will then send you an SMS and can verify if you are within the state borders from your reply. Unfortunately, if you do not have a cell phone you will not be able to play for real money. However, you could purchase a cheap pay as you go phone for $25 or less and use that.
Do I have to pay taxes on my winnings?
Yes. All winnings are subject to state and federal taxes. This applies even if you are not a New Jersey resident. We explain this in more detail below.
What information do I have to give to when signing up?
Your basic information such as your name, address, phone, and email. More sensitive information such as your Social Security Number is also required to verify your identity and for taxation purposes.
How can I deposit or withdraw funds?
This varies from room to room, but generally the simplest method to deposit is with any Visa or Mastercard credit/debit card. Prepaid cards may also work, but can vary. Most rooms also offer bank transfers and eWallets such as Neteller. Withdrawals are offered via bank transfer, paper check, or eWallets like Neteller.
Can I also play online casino games from New Jersey?
Some rooms are just poker but other brands offer poker and casino. Online casino games are also legal, and rooms like Borgata offer a full casino with slots, blackjack, roulette, and more. See our NJ Online Gambling summary for more details.
Is your question not answered here? Feel free to contact us with your specific question, comment, or concern.
New Jersey Online Poker Summary
Last Updated: April 4, 2014
Efforts to legalize online poker in New Jersey began as far back as 2010, even before Black Friday hit. One of the biggest contributors to the success of legalizing online poker and online gambling in general within the state is Senator Raymond Lesniak. Lesniak is the one who introduced legislation that eventually got passed and even now he is still working on the issue to expand it further. Below you will find all the key moments of the four-year battle to legalize online gambling in New Jersey.
Raymond Lesniak introduced the first bill that was supposed to legalize and regulate Internet gambling in New Jersey on January 10, 2010. In November, 2010, the New Jersey Senate finally reviewed the bill and perhaps somewhat surprisingly, it passed by a vote of 29 to 5, marking the first time in US history when a major legislative branch of government supported the legalization and regulation of online poker.
The assembly was all set to vote on the bill just one month later, but due to some last minute amendments, the vote was postponed until 2011.
With 2010 coming to an end with high hopes for legal online poker, 2011 started the same way. On January 10, 2011, the New Jersey Assembly voted 63-11-3 in favor of Lesniak’s bill, which meant that the last hurdle in the way was securing the Governor’s signature.
Unfortunately, this is where things went south for the legalization efforts. In March, Governor Chris Christie vetoed the bill. Christie stated that the expansion of legalized gambling outside of Atlantic City would have to be approved by voters through a referendum. Lesniak, however, condemned the Governor’s actions, stating that Chris Christie was simply looking out for his political future at the federal level without regard for the economic interest of New Jersey.
Just a month later, on April 15, Black Friday hit with indictments brought forth against the largest online poker operators in the US, including PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker. Amid the turmoil, legalization efforts grinded to a halt for the rest of the year.
Fortunately, Senator Lesniak was not discouraged by the events of Black Friday and in January 2012 introduced Senate Bill S1565 and Assembly Bill A2578. The new bills addressed all of Governor Christie’s concerns about the previous bill.
His efforts would not be in vain as almost a year later, right before Christmas of 2012, the bill was passed once again by both the New Jersey Assembly and the Senate.
In February 2013, the bill was once again presented to Governor Christie, who this time conditionally vetoed it. The conditions upon which the veto would be lifted were a tax increase from 10 to 15 percent on the online gambling operators as well as part of their proceeds going to compulsive gambling programs.
On February 26, 2014, the bill was changed in accordance with the veto conditions, after which it passed the Assembly and the Senate by huge margins. On the same day, Governor Christie signed the bill into law and New Jersey became the third state to legalize and regulate online gambling.
November 21 of the same year marked the start of a one week testing period for regulated online gambling in New Jersey, also known as the “soft launch”. After a successful week of testing, November 27 finally saw the full launch of New Jersey first online poker rooms.
So far in 2014 there has been steady growth across the New Jersey online poker rooms. It will be interesting to see if rooms such as PokerStars will be granted a license.
Law & Regulation
The Division of Gaming Enforcement oversees online gambling in New Jersey. According to the regulations, the newly opened online poker rooms are not limited to just New Jersey residents. Anyone can play real money poker there, as long as they are physically located in the state of New Jersey.
Currently New Jersey offers six poker rooms to play in:
License Fees and Taxes
Any operator wishing to be granted an internet gaming permit in New Jersey will have to pay a $400,000 issuance fee with a renewal fee of $250,000. Also, each operator will have to pay an annual $250,000 fee to compulsive gambling programs in New Jersey.
The annual tax rate, as stated previously is fifteen percent, increased from the original ten at the request of Governor Chris Christie after he imposed a conditional veto on the bill.
Another clause in the bill states that operators must reinvest two-and-a-half percent of their gross annual revenue through the CRDA (Casino Reinvestment Development Authority). CRDA funds multiple economic development and community projects in the State of New Jersey.
This reinvestment is not mandatory though. Operators who do not contribute their share to the organization have the option of paying an additional five percent investment alternative tax to the state.
Consumers and Players
Players must be at least 21 years old to be able to play online poker for real money.
Federal & State Income Taxes
Even though online poker is not regulated at the federal level, the federal tax laws still apply to legalized online poker within their states. So be sure to report your net winnings on your federal income tax return.
Of course, the taxation doesn’t stop there as there is also the state income tax which poker winnings are subject to. Regulations require operators to maintain records of players’ activities, including winnings and losses. The New Jersey Division of Taxation can access these records at any time.
Interstate and International Players
Players who are not New Jersey residents will also be subject to the state income tax. If at any time you stopped by in New Jersey and won a few hundred dollars in a ring game, then you will need to file a New Jersey income tax return, otherwise you can end up owing the state back taxes. This can result in suspension from all New Jersey online poker sites and possibly criminal charges on the ground of tax evasion and failure to file a tax return.
Since the regulations allow any players who are physically present in New Jersey to play in their online poker room, it is also possible for someone from abroad to play there, especially since the legislation does not specifically prohibit it. However, there are hurdles to doing so. To create an account with any of the New Jersey online poker rooms, the player must provide a social security number, which foreigners most likely do not have.
Even though the process seems ridiculously complicated for someone from abroad wishing to play in a New Jersey online poker room, there seems to be a way around this, described in detail on Taxdood.
Since the legislation timeline at the beginning ended with late 2013, it would be appropriate to highlight the next steps legal online gambling in New Jersey is taking in early 2014.
Once again, at the forefront is Senator Lesniak and Senator Jim Whelan who introduced a bill in late January that would allow New Jersey poker rooms to accept players not only from other states with legalized online poker, but also from all over the world. Seems like the dream of most online poker players is closer than anyone could have imagined just a year ago.
If you’re in New Jersey and want to play online poker right now, we highly suggest Borgata Poker. All new NJ players receive a 100% match bonus up to $600 on their first deposit and offer other ongoing promotions. For more details, you can also read our full Borgata Poker review.
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The laws are constantly changing in the US when it comes to online poker and online gambling. We do our best to keep you up to date on news and poker rooms offered within the United States. Click on a state above to see legal updates and to find which online poker rooms are available for you to play.
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