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Jersey, the one in the Channel Islands in the English Channel, not New Jersey, the state in the United States, is a small island nation who, in spite of its size, is looking to make a big impact in the worldwide gaming scene, following the lead of several other smaller European jurisdictions, and the Isle of Man and Guernsey in particular, who both play a pretty prominent role in online gambling and online poker in particular.
The Isle of Man licenses PokerStars, which is by far the biggest online poker site in the world, and Guernsey is famous as well, for its licensure of Full Tilt Poker through the Alderney Gaming Commission, which is part of the nation of Guernsey.
These areas are all well known tax havens, and also tightly connected to the United Kingdom, to the point where they are British possessions although they have their own governance. So given their close proximity to the U.K., and given that they are considerably more tax friendly than the U.K. is, they have become financial hubs of sorts, and this has also attracted online gambling companies, and some big ones at that.
Jersey has thus far been left out of this party, but the plan is for them to become more involved, and their 0% corporate and gaming tax rates are certainly friendly, as friendly as this sort of thing gets. (1)
It’s not that they aren’t looking to get paid here though, as in order to be licensed, companies must pay licensing fees, although they are set pretty reasonably indeed in Jersey.
So Jersey has been updating their gambling laws over the last few years, and have updated them several times lately, in an effort to get a piece of the offshore gambling licensing pie. (2) The legislators here are more than keen to get involved, and now have a rather sophisticated set of laws and regulations governing gambling along with an intention to provide top rate regulation to offshore firms who may be interested in allowing Jersey to license their online gambling sites.
This has taken a while though to catch on, and it wasn’t until 2015, a decade after this process began, that they issued their first online gaming license. (3). The competition for this licensing is pretty fierce, and they are up against some much more established jurisdictions, but they are pressing on in the hope that their role in the online gambling industry will expand over the coming years.
Playing Poker In Jersey
The Jersey gaming regulations may have been altered significantly to look to attract the licensing of foreign online gambling websites, but they have been first and foremost created to regulate gambling in Jersey itself.
This might seem like an odd statement to make, but in some other smaller jurisdictions, ones that have been far more successful in attracting foreign companies to become licensed in their country, the regulatory focus is sometimes exclusively on foreign based licensure, in other words to seek to maintain high standards directed toward international gambling, and may not even apply very much to domestic gambling or even be very concerned about it.
Jersey’s gambling regulations, by way of the Jersey Gambling Commission, definitely apply to gambling in Jersey though, land based gambling anyway, and very specifically in fact. (4)
Of course, you need a license to operate a gambling establishment in Jersey, and the regulations are pretty specific, which isn’t unusual, except when you consider that Jersey doesn’t even have licensed land based gambling, at least not at the present time.
The framework for this is well in place though should this ever happen, for now though there are no casinos or poker rooms, although social poker is permitted under Jersey law, provided that the game is not a commercial one, in other words the operator receives a profit from the game. (5)
If a game is run commercially, then it must be licensed, and this could happen if there was enough demand for it, but there really isn’t much demand at all for poker or land based gambling in general, and all they have is games such as crown and anchor.
It’s probably the case that residents of Jersey are more than happy to get their poker and gambling fixes online, and there’s really nothing stopping anyone from doing so. Unlike in some countries where the government seems to impede players from gambling online by trying to block access to websites or to make financial transactions with gambling websites more difficult, there’s none of that going on in Jersey.
So people in Jersey can play all the poker they want in social gambling settings, home games in other words, or games not run for a profit, but it’s far easier just to log onto an online poker website and play all you want there, any time of the day or night, and at any poker website you choose.
While there is a good amount of interest in Jersey as far as expanding their gaming licensure, the view is focused outside the country, not within, and Jersey isn’t really big enough that the government is probably too concerned about regulating online gambling there, although that could change, but there aren’t a lot of people who live in Jersey and there are bigger fish to fry, so while this may happen some day it won’t be any time soon.
So things are pretty great actually as far as playing poker in Jersey is concerned, as long as you have a computer, an internet connection, and a little money to spend.