The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) has announced that 37 gambling companies have applied for licenses to run online casino and online poker services in New Jersey’s newly regulated online gambling market. The first online gambling sites are expected to be launched in the Garden State late this November.

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In a recently issued statement, the NJDGE said: “We see this as the first round of filings and we expect that more applications will be filed as the start of Internet gaming moves closer. The July 29 deadline does not preclude someone from filing for a license in the future. All proposals will be considered as they are received.” The NJDGE will disclose the names of the companies only after first approving their applications.

According to New Jersey’s gambling regulations, only online companies owing land-based casino resorts in New Jersey can operate online gambling sites. However, all the 12 casino resorts in New Jersey will not use proprietary software; instead, they will sign partnership deals with offshore online gambling companies such as PokerStars.

PokerStars had tried to acquire an Atlantic City Casino, but failed to do so. While New Jersey regulators will subject offshore companies to tough scrutiny, they will be quite lenient with land-based casino companies based in New Jersey. Since PokerStars is based in an offshore country, it will find it very difficult to purchase a land casino in Atlantic City.

According to an Associated Press report, New Jersey regulators will scrutinize the applications of only those 37 companies that applied before the July 29 deadline. Gambling companies are free to apply for a license whenever they wish, but they should be prepared for a long-drawn-out licensing procedure.

Besides PokerStars, another offshore company called 2UP Gaming, which is based in London, has announced its plans to either purchase a land casino in Atlantic City or construct a land casino property in New Jersey. Companies such as Digital Entertainment Plc, which has signed a partnership deal with Borgata; 888 Holdings, which has partnered with Caesars Entertainment Corporation; and Ultimate Gaming, which has partnered with the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort; are also planning to launch online gaming services in New Jersey.

Once launched, online poker rooms in New Jersey will accept only residents of New Jersey, but New Jersey’s gambling laws provide for the formation of inter-state online poker compacts and players from other states will also be accepted once the legal hurdles are overcome.