The last-minute approval process for New Jersey’s online gambling sites was somewhat hurried. Companies like Caesars Interactive Gaming received approval for Caesars and Bally’s properties received permits to launch just the day before the scheduled November 21 start date. In total, there were 15 sites prepared to participate in the soft launch on that date.
Ready, Test, Wait…
The soft launch implemented an eight-hour testing period for the approved sites, which included Caesars with 888 and Amaya, Borgata with PartyPoker, Golden Nugget with Bally Technologies, Tropicana with Gamesys, and Trump companies with Betfair and Ultimate Gaming. However, Golden Nugget’s launch was filled with uncertainty. It was given a permit but then told it was unprepared for the launch. Later on November 21, it was given the approval to go ahead but could only do so without real-money options for players.
Meanwhile, any players within the borders of New Jersey who could log on to the sites were invited to participate in the soft launch, playing with real-money on the Internet casino or poker room they chose. As a stipulation, though, some sites required the players to have preregistered on their sites in order to receive said invitation.
A Rough Start for Players
The first few days of testing were a bit chaotic from the players’ point of view. Numerous forums relayed complaints of geo-location verification problems. Those firmly planted within the borders of New Jersey reported that they were denied access to the sites as their IP addresses were registered in another state. Players along the state’s borders had numerous problems, an issue that was predicted by geo-location companies prior to the launch. Other players weren’t able to access the software due to other remote programs running on their computers. Players were in contact with the sites to identify the problem programs and they had to be shut down before they could play online poker or other games.
Most Sites Get the Go-Ahead
Golden Nugget still has not launched real-money play on any domains and the company seems to have chosen to delay a hard launch until ongoing problems are resolved. The sites that have performed testing with real-money players throughout the weekend included the Borgata, Trump Taj Mahal, Trump Plaza, Tropicana, Caesars, and Bally’s. All have found enough success to be given the official go-ahead for the hard launch originally scheduled for November 26.
Not all of the sites will include online poker at the time of their official launches. That being said, they have the authorization to move forward with all casino and poker games. As glitches are addressed and customer service departments are put to their tests, the rollout of online gaming looks to be slow but steady in the state of New Jersey.