We could be on the verge of something very big in the online world of the USA – and that’s gambling online. The Garden State legalized online casinos from 27th November 2013 joining Nevada and Delaware in being the only three states to do so. Now if you’re reading this in the USA, you probably won’t think this is particularly strange – i.e. that the other 47 states don’t allow people to gamble online. But to much of the rest of the developed world – this is distinctly weird. Of course, the out and out techie geeks amongst us who are tech-savvy and determined enough to gamble are able to get around the geo-location-based restrictions and gamble anyway. But this, well, illegal! It’s also beyond the means of most people.
If we have a quick look at America’s colonial forbears, the British, for example, the online gambling industry is already worth around $2 billion a year – and it’s still growing. Now the UK has a population of around 63 million – compared with the US’s 317 million. So simply extrapolating the UK’s experience makes this a business worth potentially $10 billion. This is why New Jersey’s move is so significant. The state is 11th population league table with 9 million people – quite a long way behind the likes of California, New York, Texas, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania and others. And none of the top populated states enjoys the rich tradition of the southeastern states, often referred to as the “bible belt”, with all the anti pretty much everything that title entails. In other words, if New Jersey’s experiment with online casinos proves successful in business terms and, specifically, raising tax dollars – then some other big states could follow. Of course, you have to be in the state to be able to play – and you must be able to prove it. And in the early stages that is proving to be problematic with reportedly lots of legitimate gamblers in the state being blocked by over zealous geo-location technology and associated issues. But apparently these are quickly being ironed out by the licensed providers. So this could well be huge if it takes off in Jersey to the same extent as much of the rest of the developed world. If you live in the Garden State and are keen to join the poker party, you can learn how here; the New Jersey Blue Book has a free guide to the best of the current providers and what free sign-up money you can get. Again, this is new to American players but not to the rest of the world. The online gambling business is just about the most competitive on the web and the many providers are always o keen to sign us up that they give us some pretty impressive welcome bonuses. And the affiliate sites that are on the ball are also quick to recognize this. We could be on the ground floor of something big here – then again the naysayers may win out. But for the switched-on geeks out there, this could be a world of opportunity?