New Jersey to Restrict Player Bonuses Upon Launch

New Jersey to Restrict Player Bonuses Upon LaunchOnline poker players in New Jersey who were hoping to make a deposit on Nov. 26 that includes a first-time bonus will have to wait until at least Christmas.

The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) released an advisory bulletin yesterday that details a 30-day restriction on bonus programs that are “wagering-based” upon the initial launch date. Such bonuses will be delayed until the 30-day time frame expires.

Once the state’s Internet gambling scheme has had time to develop and operate, the 30-day restriction period on bonuses will be lifted. However, those sites whose marketing efforts will include such bonus programs will have to demonstrate the ability to generate acurate revenue reports before the DGE gives the OK to offer play-through bonuses.

Online poker rooms have typically offered first-time deposit bonuses in order to attract players to the sites. It has been a staple of the industry throughout the years that players be required to accumulate points before bonus cash is earned. Online casinos also have been known to offer signup bonuses in which wagering-based play-through requirements are established.

These bonuses usually demand that wagering requirements are met before players are allowed to cashout. New Jersey will allow such promotional strategies after 30 days. However, players can always cashout the amount they have deposited provided that it has not been lost, but doing so prior to meeting the bonus requirements will put an end to the bonus offer.

DGE Director David Rebuck issued the bulletin at the behest of the state’s online gaming licensees who were curious as to what bonus and marketing endeavors would be permitted. The bulletin also stated that online gaming sites in New Jersey must clearly spell out all the terms and conditions of any bonuses and promotions offered.

It was also learned that the soft launch set for Nov. 21 will commence with an eight-hour test period on each of the first two days. Players invited to participate in the real-money soft launch will be able to gamble between 6 pm and 2 am on both Nov. 21 and 22, the Press of Atlantic City reported.

On Nov. 23, playing time will be extended to 16 hours, between 8 am and 12 am. The DGE expects round-the-clock wagering to be offered on the final two days of the soft launch testing. Regulators may extend the test period beyond the initial five days if operations are not running smoothly.