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- Bearing in mind that the booming online gambling market is one of the brightest spots in New Jersey’s uneven gambling landscape, state lawmakers are on track to extend the mandate for online bets for another 10 years.
- A state assembly committee held a hearing Thursday to consider extending the law authorizing online gambling through 2033.
- Don Guardian, the former mayor of Atlantic City, says online betting has become an integral part of the state’s gambling industry. Association member Ralph Caputo says it has helped keep casinos afloat during the coronavirus pandemic as gamblers can bet online while physical casinos have been closed for several months.
Bearing in mind that the booming online gambling market is one of the brightest spots in New Jersey’s uneven gambling landscape, state lawmakers are on track to extend the mandate for online bets for another 10 years.
A state assembly committee held a hearing Thursday to consider extending the law authorizing online gambling through 2033, pushing the measure to the next step in the legislative process. It still required additional rounds of approval before going to Governor Phil Murphy for his signature.
“Internet gaming has proven to be an integral part of gaming in New Jersey,” said association member Don Guardian, former mayor of Atlantic City. “It’s one of the reasons we still have casinos in New Jersey.”
Association member Ralph Caputo, former CEO of Atlantic City Casino, noted that online gambling provides an important source of income for casinos during their 3 1/2 months of closure in 2020 during the early days of the pandemic. Even when the casinos reopened later that year, some customers were wary of coming to the casino in person and opted to gamble online.
Caputo said that online gambling “has kept these casinos (afloat) through very difficult times.”
Most of the major online gambling companies, including FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, and Bally support the bill.
New Jersey launched online casino games in November 2013, and since then its affiliated casinos have earned $4.79 billion from online gamblers. That’s nearly double what Pennsylvania casinos have won $2.47 billion online since July 2019.
Other states that practice online gambling include Michigan ($2 billion since January 2021); Connecticut ($199.7 million since October 2021); West Virginia ($137.4 million since July 2020); and Delaware ($42.2 million since December 2013). Nevada offers online poker but does not separate this revenue separately from in-person casinos reporting to the state.
These numbers are for online casino games only, and do not include sports betting revenue, which is reported separately.
New Jersey led the nation in sports betting revenue from 2018 through the beginning of this year. That’s when New York started taking online sports betting and immediately took the national lead in the fast-growing industry.
While online gambling numbers look impressive on paper, Atlantic City casino executives are warning that they aren’t all they seem. Online gambling money, like money won through sports betting, is shared with third parties such as technology platforms. Casinos do not keep virtually all of the money that the state has reported winning by online casinos; Casino executives say up to 70% of it goes to outside parties.
But even the remaining money is an aid to the gambling resort, whose nine casinos are struggling to return to the level of business they had before the pandemic.
The assembly committee also introduced another bill that would require online gambling casinos in New Jersey to prominently advertise the Atlantic City brick-and-mortar casino name on all online betting sites.
Another bill introduced Thursday will cover esports, or competitive video games, such as online gambling events, providing esports-specific permits for gaming betting.