is gearing up to become the next significant state with legalized internet casino gaming. With a launching potentially months off, Online Poker Report has identified five lessons that the Keystone State can take from the experience of the Garden State.
In this, the penultimate installment of this series, Online Poker Report will drill down on one specific aspect of the education issues Highlighting the legal, regulated market.
Showcasing the differences between legal and illegal sites
The previous installment of the series appeared at the lack of customer education in the nascent New Jersey online gaming market.
1 place in particular bears a closer look: differentiating between the legal, accredited sites of the state, and unregulated overseas sites offering similar goods.
That was one place where New Jersey certainly didn’t do enough.
By not trumpeting the fact that they were licensed and regulated by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, market sites were given an opening by licensed operators. And the black market operators jumped on it.
The black market operators did an excellent job of muddying the waters through marketing gimmicks and search engine optimization which made the sites appear legal.
There was no fast way for customers to understand what sort of internet gaming site they visited. Early market study showed a substantial number of consumers gambling at black market sites believed they were gambling on sites that were legal.
What’s legal and not?
As the picture below demonstrates, although sports gambling was illegal, 21 percent of respondents believed they were using”approved” sites.
That shouldn’t be surprising since customers were confronted whether they seen a market site.
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There was little if any mention of legality. Customers had difficulty differentiating between an internet gambling site licensed by the state and an offshore site operating in the market.
It took about two years for the DGE to implement a policy requiring all sites to display an official New Jersey DGE seal.
The NJ DGE has introduced an official seal that will be required to be displayed on licensed sites:
— Chris Grove (@OPReport)
That simple fix helped clients identify what sites were operating without a license, and by extension, completely devoid of the NJ DGE’s oversight, and what sites were legal.
PA should do that, and much more
Pennsylvania regulators would be smart to replicate New Jersey seals from day one. And operators would be wise to go a step beyond an official seal in some remote corner of the homepage.
First, operators could place the seal in a more prominent position than NJ operators do.
Additionally, the benefit of being a legal operator is one of, if not the advantage these sites have over black market operators. Rather than attempting to outduel them with match offerings or deposit bonuses, PA operators should consider using the legality front and center on their homepage.
Differentiating themselves from sites that are illegal is vital. Pennsylvania has handicapped its sites with an overzealous tax rate and licensing fees. As such, legal operators will have a tough time competing with the bonuses and RTP (return to player) rates offered at offshore sites.
The sites should focus on the regulations and consumer protections they offer.
Far more significant than a 100 percent up to $500 deposit bonus are the phrases:
Licensed and regulated by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board!
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