Not long ago, Delaware and Nevada made history by becoming the first two US states to sign an interstate online poker pact. The agreement will see them share player pools in hopes of creating bigger and more profitable games. This is no doubt great for US internet poker enthusiasts because it means that interstate poker is finally upon us. However, there’s one notable thing missing here: New Jersey.
Although operating under earlier projections, the New Jersey online poker market has done fairly well, generating almost $10 million a month in revenue. Contrast this to Delaware, which is only making around $150k per month, and Nevada, which is estimated to be generating around $400k-$500k a month (first official report due in late March). So looking solely at current revenue figures, New Jersey isn’t missing out on much by not joining Delaware and Nevada.
However, this hasn’t stopped New Jersey State Sen. Ray Lesniak from being disappointed about the matter. Lesniak, who was instrumental in getting online gaming legalized in the Garden State, is particularly annoyed that they didn’t link up with Delaware. After all, the two states are neighbors and both offer internet poker and casino gaming.
“Obviously, it’s disappointing,” he said. “I’m not sure why we didn’t win that battle. I don’t even know if we were in it. I’m going to have to look into this and see quite frankly what went wrong. Gov. Christie decides everything. Maybe he was distracted. Our governor being distracted with scandal problems can hurt us, and possibly that’s what happened in this case.”
As Lesniak indicated, 2014 has been a rough year for Chris Christie, who’s been dealing with fallout from a week-long traffic jam in Fort Lee, New Jersey. Critics claim that Christie’s senior staff intentionally had two George Washington Bridge access lanes closed as retaliation to Fort Lee’s mayor endorsing Barbara Buono, who lost to Christie in the 2013 NJ Governor election. Christie has repeatedly denied that he had any knowledge of the alleged scandal.
Going back to Lesniak, while he believes that New Jersey missed an opportunity by not linking up with Delaware, he can understand not wanting to align with Nevada. “I think we want to be separate from Nevada because we have more to offer with full casino gambling, which brings in additional revenue,” he said. “We’ll have to pick up the ball and hook up with other states.”
As Lesniak stated, Nevada only offers online poker. Plus, New Jersey is hoping to give struggling Atlantic City casinos a boost over Las Vegas with superior internet gaming. So partnering with Nevada might help Vegas casinos’ online poker operations more so than it does Atlantic City. In any case, you can be sure that Lesniak will be pushing Christie to seek out other interstate partners as more states legalize online gaming.