As US online poker players watch the feds, regulators, and legislators duke it out in the Battle of the Online Gaming Wars, a new twist has come in the form of one of the first unregulated Internet gambling operators making a major move on its US presence. Announcing it will no longer be accepting New Jersey players on its site, Bovada left heads turning in the latest surprise move in this fascinating metaphorical tennis match.
Company Issues Statement
In an official company statement just released, Betting Partners wrote:
“Our partner brand Bovada.lv has chosen to stop new account registrations for
residents of the state of New Jersey. This is a decision they have taken of their own volition.”
Reacting to Regulation
It appears the unexpected announcement could be in reaction to a recent New Jersey regulatory missive aimed at several Internet gambling affiliate sites. The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) wrote to several such sites earlier this month, warning them to stop purveying “any online gaming links that are not authorized under federal law or under the law of any state.”
With the American online gambling market in a bit of a Wild, Wild West area right now – with both the potential (albeit somewhat improbable) for a complete cessation of Internet gaming altogether if the Restoration of America’s Wire Act is passed, and the possibility that state markets will continue to expand with California, Massachusetts and/or Pennsylvania in the near future – Bovada may simply be hedging their own bets.
Possibly looking over its shoulder at competitor and major player PokerStars’ frustrations in reestablishing its US presence post-UIGEA, Bovada may be making the move as a protective measure.
The company has made it clear that all existing American poker accounts are safe, and will remain unaffected by this decision. They will, however, no longer allow New Jersey players to sign up for Bovada in the US.