By Lauren Wanko
Online gambling officially launched at midnight after a five-day trial run.
“It went like a trial period should. There were a few glitches, it got worked out. That’s why we do trials and we were happy with the results,” said Tropicana Casino and Resort General Manager Steve Callender.
Still some players weren’t entirely happy during the test period, claiming they couldn’t register. Other users say they got blocked from the site because the system insisted players were outside the state when those players were well within New Jersey’s borders.
“There are people getting pushed off the site sometimes. You know you’re gonna have to work through those things. They’re acceptable glitches in my opinion because it’s not like people are signing in from other states and that’s working,” Callender said.
When asked if there is concern that the glitches are going to turn people off from internet gambling, Callender said, “No, I think there’s been a little bit of an overreaction. People have to be patient.”
Projections for tax revenue from the first year of online gambling vary widely from $30 million up to the Christie administration’s estimate of at least $160 million. You have to be in New Jersey to gamble online on any mobile device.
Here’s how it works at the Tropicana. After you log in with your username and password, your cell phone is pinged. That confirms your location. You’re sent a text message with a pin number, which is needed to log in on their site. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the real time monitoring geo-location system some casinos are using. This ensures the players who are gambling online are in the state. A map shows the critical areas where players’ locations — close to the borders — are a concern.
“The dots that you’ll see dropping down really represent players that we’re considering to be high risk, so those that are on a mobile device close to a border or maybe using different software. We should geo-locate more frequently,” said GeoComply CEO Anna Sainsbury.
The blue dots represent players who accessed the gaming sites successfully. As for the red dots..
“The red dot could mean they have been denied access for any number of reasons. It could be we haven’t found enough geo-data sources on that user, or they could be running a remote desktop software that could be used for malicious uses,” Sainsbury said.
We caught a red pin pop up in Minnesota. That means someone was trying to play there — and got blocked. As for players in New Jersey who can gamble online, GeoComply representatives say they’ve ensured 90 percent of the players along New Jersey’s borders can accurately be verified and gamble online.
The Division of Gaming Enforcement will post the first internet gaming results on their website in mid-January.