A number of unregulated online poker sites have withdrawn from regulated online poker markets in the US, and the latest online poker room to do so is Bovada.
Bovada has recently sent an email to its online poker customers, stating that it will no longer accept real money online poker players from New Jersey. This means that NJ poker players will no longer be able to register for real money poker play at New Jersey as the state is now in the restricted US states list of Bovada.
The online poker room made this decision just a few days after OnlinePokerReport.com published a report on the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) sending a letter to six major affiliate sites in the US, requesting them to stop promoting gambling sites that have not been licensed and regulated in New Jersey.
Kerry Langan, a spokeswoman for the NJDGE, told OnlinePokerReport.com that NJ regulators feel that promoting unregulated gambling sites along with regulated ones will make them less reputable and give the impression that legal sites are somehow associated with illegal ones. Langan also said that forcing regulated online poker sites to compete with unregulated ones is rather unfair.
Bovada’s decision to withdraw from NJ is obviously related to the NJDGE’s letter to affiliate sites. Since Bovada has not requested for a license to operate in NJ, they would like to withdraw from the state completely.
While informing its player base that Bovada.lv has decided to stop offering real money online poker services in New Jersey, the online poker room has assured existing players that the change will not affect them in any way. The poker room stated,
This is a decision they have taken of their own volition and they hope that their existing customers continue to enjoy all of the products and services Bovada.lv has to offer.
It is also worth considering the fact that the NJDGE has recently written to several unregulated online poker rooms, bringing it to their notice that they will be violating the state’s gambling laws if they continue accepting NJ players.
The US online gambling industry is now in a strange predicament. On one side, there is the danger of a blanket ban being imposed on Internet gaming if the Restoration of America’s Wire Act is enacted into law. On the other, more US states, especially Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and California, are weighing the pros and cons of legalizing intrastate online poker.