Bovada Stops Accepting New NJ Players

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As of May 2014, Bovada is no longer accepting new players from the US state of New Jersey for its online poker offering. In making the announcement to the media, Bovada stressed that partner Bovada.lv had taken the decision. A statement offered the following explanation: “This is a decision they have taken of their own volition.”

Current Players Unaffected

According to the statement, current account holders of Bovada.lv will be unaffected by the decision and will be permitted to continue playing online poker, as well as the casino, sports betting, and horse racing offerings. The decision certainly sounds rather odd, considering that existing players will still have access, but it’s not the first time Bovada has been involved in such a situation.

Similar Issue in Nevada

Bovada once accepted players from the states of Maryland and Washington. But since New York players were no longer allowed to join, neither were those from Maryland nor Washington. More surprisingly, players are now unable to create accounts from within Nevada. This is particularly notable because Nevada is one of three US states where online gambling is legal.

Online Gambling Legal in NJ

Along with Nevada, online gambling is also permitted in Delaware and New Jersey. And that is what makes us question why Bovada cannot accept any more new poker players from New Jersey. All this does is serve to add further confusion to what is an enduring legal nightmare.

One Nation – 50 States

Although the US is one nation, the 50 states that comprise the country have different legislation to govern their own residents. As a result, the legal issue surrounding US gambling makes for a rather murky discussion. What we can tell you is that any online gambling sites accepting players from all 50 states are doing so illegally, and are risking the eventual wrath of the US government.

Legal Loophole

When New Jersey legalised online gambling in November 2013, the state was actually taking advantage of a loophole. You see, online gambling is still considered illegal by the US government based on 1961 legislation. However, there is a legal loophole that permits states to essentially ignore the national legislation so long as online gambling doesn’t cross state borders.

A Possible Explanation

Because Bovada previously provided online gambling access to states where the activity was not legal (Maryland and Washington), it is likely that the operator is privately engulfed in legal turmoil and seeking to cut back on operations in NJ. Technically, a NJ gambling site is not allowed to accept players from anywhere but within the state – this is in accordance with the 1961 legislation summarised above.

Future Repercussions for Offenders

All this means for US online poker is that “legal” poker websites must be dedicated to one of the current legalised states (Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey) and rigidly adhere to corresponding legislation. They simply cannot stray like Bovada and attempt to circumvent the law. Further US poker sites might be forced to close if they have attempted a similar strategy to Bovada. Poker sites that have followed the law and serve only players from their legal state will have nothing to worry about.

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