The Latest on Legal Online Poker
Despite the fact that tax income from legalized online gambling will be lower than originally thought in the state of New Jersey, many other states are now looking at what they can do to help reap in the same benefits that are already occurring here. The original projection from Governor Christie put estimates on income for the state at about $160 million, but current numbers look like they will be closer to $30 million right now. This is a big miss, and unfortunate for New Jersey, but there are a few things that need to be considered. One, it’s $30 million that the state didn’t have before, and two, there are still a lot of hiccups in the administration of who is able to sign up for accounts and who is not.
Right now, the biggest problem is being able to create a legal account. New Jersey residents in the middle of the state are not having many problems, but if you live near the border, you might have a tougher time because of faulty geolocation systems. Also, a lot of people are being rejected because they do not have an actual New Jersey address. It’s legal to play in New Jersey even if you live in New York, but some of the sites that allow legal play are not allowing these people to create accounts even though they are very much allowed to do so in a legal sense. Sites are just being cautious because of the punishment that Full Tilt and PokerStars took a while back, and are being more restrictive in order to protect themselves. Once this problem clears up and a little more leniency is established, the revenue that NJ’s government sees will be boosted in a substantial way.
New Jersey is a test run for other states. Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Louisiana are all seriously considering pro-poker legislation. Obviously this would all be taxed for the state’s benefit. The issue is implementation and ongoing costs. If a major center like New Jersey is losing money on this (which they are not right now), then a state with a smaller population like Louisiana will definitely lose money, too. It’s not worth it to a state to go against the national grain rate now AND lose money at the same time. Other states are likely in talks about legalizing poker on the web, but even so, it will be a few years still before any serious proposals will be made before the voters.
The two states that stand to gain the most by legalizing online poker are probably two of the few that will never do it. California and New York both have massive populations, but they also have legal casinos all over the state. California–especially the Los Angeles and Gardenia region–has been a poker player’s refuge for years, and New York’s Governor Cuomo just passed a bill last election that will allow new casinos to be built throughout the state in addition to the many Native American run casinos that already exist. If you’re in one of these states, you probably won’t be able to play legally online any time soon, but the good news is that you never have too far to drive to find a brick and mortar casino room. It’s a rather large inconvenience for sure, but these states really have no reason to take on the extra risk of trying to monitor online actions right now. Right now, they already have the casino revenue coming in, there’s no reasons to take a gamble when it’s not needed. Besides, doing so would just move money around, for the most part, and not add extra tax income. Plus, the money being moved is harder to monitor, so there’s no reason to do this.