Recently, six (6) well known New Jersey Internet poker and online gaming affiliate marketers received cease and desist letters from the New Jersey Attorney General’s office requiring that the affiliates “immediately remove any online gaming links that are not authorized under federal law or under the law of any state.” The New Jersey Internet poker and online gaming affiliates targeted by the New Jersey Attorney General are: CardsChat.com, PokerSource.com, RakeBrain.com, Pokersites.com, RaketheRake.com, and one unnamed site.
New Jersey Internet Poker and Online Poker
The letter received by New Jersey’s Internet poker and online gambling affiliates claim that some of the advertised gaming sites offer games that are illegal under New Jersey State law. Specifically, the sites are:
- Bovada Poker;
- Merge Gaming;
- Black Chip Poker; and
- America’s Cardroom
Should the named online gambling affiliates continue to market the foregoing sites to New Jersey residents, it is likely that the New Jersey Attorney General will prosecute them for willfully violating N.J.S.A. § 5:12-95.26, which provides that it is a fourth degree crime for any person to offer games into play or display such games through Internet gaming without approval of the Division to do so. Violators of the statute are subject to fines up to $100,000.
The letter goes on to state that the games offered by the affiliates’ sites are illegal under gambling laws of Nevada and Delaware, with whom New Jersey will likely enter into interstate gambling compacts later this year.
California May Finally Pass Internet Poker Law
While New Jersey affiliates received bad news, it appears that there may be some good news coming out of California.
As we have detailed numerous times on this blog, California has been attempting to pass legislation legalizing Internet poker for several years. However, in the midst of conflicting interests, usually involving Native American gambling concerns, every proposed Internet poker law has, to date, proved unworkable and/or voted down. After a meeting last week involving a coalition of Indian tribes, the tide appears to be changing.
In a meeting led by the San Manuel Band of the Serrano Mission Indians and the Pechanga Band of the Luiseno Indians, the tribes agreed to the basic structural outline of a proposed Internet poker law. In essence, the law will only allow Internet poker licensees to operate two (2) simultaneous websites within the State and will not allow California to enter into interstate compacts with any other state that has legalized Internet poker. The agreed upon language will also include a “bad actor” clause, which will limit the entry of entities that offered Internet poker services to consumers after the enactment of the Unlawful Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (“UIGEA”) in 2006. The “bad actor” clause is specifically intended to target “Black Friday” Internet gambling sites (such as PokerStars), which will not be authorized to operate within the State of California unless they each pay large fines to the State.
California is not the only State attempting to legalize Internet poker and online gaming within its borders. States such as Iowa, Arizona and New York also have draft bills in the works or pending before their respective legislative branches. The Internet poker industry in the United States is gaining momentum as more and more states consider legalizing online gaming.