As the launch date for online gaming in New Jersey approached, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement released a new advisory bulletin from Director David Rebuck regarding promotional offers for online poker and casinos. The beginning of the advisory bulletin authorizes bonuses and complimentary programs per its regulations, and they will differ from promotional offers made by land-based casinos.
Online Casino Bonuses
Online casino operators may offer deposit bonuses with cashout restrictions, which means that players must play a certain amount of games before cashing in on the bonus and requesting a withdrawal on that winning amount. Operators can require play equaling up to 20 or 100 times the initial bonus offer, and when the requirement is met, players can withdraw it. However, players should always be able to withdraw an amount from their online accounts up to their original deposit if it is in their accounts. Once a player hits a zero-dollar balance, the promotion must end.
Operators must disclose all terms and conditions related to bonuses and promotional deals in their terms and conditions with clarity and including wager requirements and withdrawal restrictions.
However, it should be noted that wager-based promotions cannot be offered until at least 30 days from the launch of online gaming to the general public. At that time, “a proponent of such programs must be able to demonstrate the ability to generate accurate revenue reports” before offering any such bonuses.
Online Poker Bonuses
Online poker rooms must abide by the same rules as for online casino bonuses, but US Poker points out some issues that may concern poker players. For instance, casino bonuses are paid immediately, while poker bonuses are awarded as a player accumulates rake, which means the withdrawal requirements would be difficult to enforce. Players will need to clear an entire bonus before withdrawing any of it, unlike in most online poker rooms around the world.
Testing Periods for Gaming Launch
As has been previously discussed, the online gaming sites in New Jersey that have received approval by November 21 may launch on that date for a testing period of five days. The Press of Atlantic City reported last week that the soft launch will begin on November 21 and November 22 with eight-hour test periods. Operators can open a window of 14 hours for testing on November 23 and follow with 24 hours of testing on November 24.
Regulators must be satisfied with the results of all testing for a site to go live for the general public on November 26; otherwise, the date may be pushed back. Testing will include identity verification, geo-location systems, and transaction processing.
Players who pre-register on sites that are already functional for signups, such as those associated with Borgata, Tropicana, and the like, may be invited to participate in the soft launch to test the sites for real-money gaming. They will compete at their own risk per the terms and conditions of each operator, though mistakes on the part of the operators will likely garner refunds.