When we buy medicine at the drug store, a seal is in place to ensure it hasn’t been tampered with. When we get social security letters in the mail, the paper is embossed with an official seal to guarantee it’s a legitimate, government document. Purchasing meat from the local grocer, the USDA seal of approval tells us it’s been sanctioned for human consumption. Seals are the backbone of trust and safety for American consumers, so why is it that much of the online poker and casino industry in New Jersey has neglected to take full advantage of trust seals?
It’s no secret that New Jersey’s iGaming market has performed well below the expectations of industry analysts in its first year (launched Nov. 2013). Several major causes have been attributed to that fact. Players have repeatedly pointed out geo-location errors, payment issues and general malfunctions in the software, all of which are being addressed (in a painfully slow manner) by operators, but an overwhelming lack of awareness that legal and regulated online poker and casino gambling exists in New Jersey supersedes all of those elements.
The fact is, even all the with the systematic failures to date, hundreds of players still take to the virtual felt and spin the reels of the cybernetic slots on a daily basis. Multiple reports have indicated that only 10% to 50% of the adult population in the Garden State is even aware that gambling over the internet has become a legally viable option. And of those that do know, not all of them are certain whether it’s truly a legitimate business, or which sites New Jersey regulates (i.e. which ones are legally operating in the state, and which ones are not).
While it’s the job of each online poker operator to get the word out, it’s also their job to ensure customers feel safe in their interactive environment. The proper placement of a trust seal could go a long way towards raising awareness and educating the public on the matter of safety in regulated internet gambling.
The trust seal depicts the logo of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, which is in charge of licensing and regulating the state’s online poker and casino websites to ensure the safety and security of all consumers. Thus far, 888 is the only operator that presents the DGE trust seal in large, highly visible area of each website (no scrolling required), along with the bold text, “Licensed for Real Money Play in New Jersey”. Clicking that link takes the visitor to a detailed page that describes the efforts of the DGE and 888’s official license number.
Other operators, including Borgata Poker, Borgata Casino, Party NJ, Golden Nugget, Tropicana and Virgin Casino, offer only a miniature trust seal, depicted at the very bottom of the page (requires scrolling), and not all of them are clickable for additional information. Caesars Casino has a large, clickable trust seal, but scrolling is required to see it. Harrah’s Casino, Betfair and (somewhat surprisingly) WSOP.com do not display the NJ DGE trust seal at all.