In February 2013, New Jersey became the third state to legalize online gambling. Since NJ online gambling began nearly four years ago, it has continued to grow in popularity. Well over a dozen sites now operate in the state.
Though the market is made up of reputable brands and is tied to the land-based casino industry in Atlantic City, some new players ask whether their money safe is with online casinos in NJ. The answer is yes.
Keeping NJ players safe
Most online gambling sites in NJ are operating fairly and ethically. In New Jersey, online gambling is regulated by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.
The DGE was created to protect the interests of the public by maintaining a legal and viable casino industry. This ensures that players are protected from organized crime perpetuated by those who own or operate casinos, their employees and vendors. The DGE also works to ensure that Garden State players are accessing only legal, regulated NJ online gambling sites.
The NJ Casino Control Commission also works to keep the NJ gambling community safe. Its mission is to promote the confidence of the public and the integrity of the gaming industry which they do as an independent licensing authority. The Commission does this by building collaborative relationships and partnerships with stakeholders.
At a NJ casino site regulated by these state agencies, the security of player funds and the fairness of the NJ online casino games offered is assured. Any site that is operating legally in New Jersey will bear the logo of the DGE. Sites such as Golden Nugget, Tropicana, and Betfair prominently display this logo on the front page.
Funds safety at legal NJ gambling sites
In answering the question of the safety of player funds, it is important you understand the laws and regulations put in place in NJ. Adhering to them will ensure that your money is safe. They are:
- Only those aged 21 years and above can gamble.
- To open an account, only register on approved NJ gambling websites. You can also get information on licensed NJ internet gaming sites on the official DGE website. If you’ll be playing casino games for real money, you’ll also be required to participate in a Know Your Customer check. This is a precaution that is taken to validate the age and identity of a player. It minimizes chances of someone using stolen identities to gamble. This check is made by asking players to provide their Social Security number. More and more online gambling sites only need the last four digits.
- There is also the precaution that is enforced in regard to location. You can open an account from anywhere in the country but to play for real money, you have to be physically located within the state of New Jersey.
- The points of access for New Jersey online gambling sites are also regulated. Any player can play for money on regulated sites, including tourists. But as is the case with land-based casinos, online players have to be located within the state.
- The use of Virtual Private Networks to play outside the state borders is also regulated; it is not allowed. Apart from home and current IP addresses, online gambling sites in New Jersey also do geo-tracking through third-party services. Those who try to manipulate this law and misrepresent their actual location may have their accounts canceled or suspended.
Depositing and withdrawing at NJ casinos online
Points of deposit are another way the safety of NJ online gambling can be compromised. Every regulated gambling site offers a variety of deposit options to suit different players. This includes debit and credit cards, bank wire transfers, and cash deposits at partner brick and mortar casinos. However, there are still some wary credit card companies that don’t allow gambling transactions.
It’s best to check with the specific gambling online site you want to play on. A good number of them have expanded deposit options to include prepaid cards, the popular PayPal and person-to-person cash deposits such as 7-Eleven PayNearMe. Players can also deposit cash via third-party processors like Neteller and Skrill.
Cash also exchanges hands when players are cashing out their winnings. As is the case with deposits, there are also several cash-out options. Players can cash out via bank wire, checks sent by mail or cash in the casino. The state of New Jersey protects players by ensuring that gambling sites allow players to cash out their winnings within the timeframe indicated on their sites.
Depending on the method, cashouts typically take several days for approval then a few more business days to get into your bank or mailbox. However, these times have reduced lately. It is best to check the precise cash-out periods and other policies of the site you want to play on.
Segregating player funds from operating funds
Another important safeguard put in place for the safety of New Jersey players is the requirement that online gambling operations segregate player funds from operating funds. This should definitively answer any questions as to whether money is safe with online casinos in NJ. It is.
This law does significantly increase the safety of money kept in online virtual accounts. It protects players against some of the negative experiences of the past such as the April 2011 poker event that players dubbed Black Friday. On this day, federal authorities shut down online poker sites that were running in violation of the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA). Players thought they had lost their funds as they couldn’t log on to the closed sites and withdraw their funds.
As it turned out, one affected site, PokerStars, separated players funds from corporate funds. PokerStars gave every player their funds back shortly after the shutdown. PokerStars eventually purchased former rival Full Tilt, and Full Tilt players received remittance as well.
Relax and play
In conclusion, yes, player funds are safe at online gambling sites in New Jersey. And in the event you have a complaint with a casino, you are first advised to put in writing and forward it to the casino. If the problem is not resolved, then you can file your complaint online to DGE.
In case you or a loved one develops a problem with gambling, you can get government-sponsored assistance through Gamblers Anonymous or the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey.