The Sad State of Gambling In New Jersey

As brick-and-mortar gambling locations across Atlantic City are closing or declaring their intention to do so, the New Jersey online gambling scene is growing. In spite of some downward revised earnings estimates for online gambling in the garden state, the number of new accounts continues to grow. Currently individuals in New Jersey are able to go online to locally-owned and operated sites to access blackjack, slots, baccarat, poker and roulette. This is due to two things: declining tourism in places like Atlantic City and the recent legalization of online gambling within the state lines of New Jersey. 

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Atlantic City Closures

Atlantic City casinos have seen a rough time in the recent past. 2013 was the eighth straight year of tourism declines for Atlantic City. The woes have continued to mount for Atlantic City as Trump plaza was originally slated to sell for $20 million to the Meruelo Group but The Trump Entertainment Group was unable to get a release on its mortgage after the senior lender refused to approve the sale for such a low price. The Showboat is also in trouble and slated to close on August 31. Trump Plaza will now close two weeks after that.

Due to these difficulties, state legislators are seeking protection from closures for the properties on the basis that employees were only given two months’ notice. Further, they’ve said that it’s “simply not enough time to do the appropriate research that acquisition of either property may require.” However, there are other things in the works for the New Jersey gambling than the Atlantic City closures.


Outlook for Online Providers

In 2011 the New Jersey legislature passed a bill that would allow online gambling to New Jersey residents over the age of 21. However, this bill was vetoed until a modified version that prohibited business other than Atlantic City casinos from advertising online gambling which would preclude other locations from becoming de facto casinos. The law legitimizes non-sports book, online casino gambling for a 10-year trial period. The operation of the websites is restricted to the pre-existing Atlantic City casinos and imposes a 15 percent tax on online gambling revenue rather than the 8 percent for physical locations.

The gambler must be 21 years of age and playing from a computer  that is physically located in New Jersey which will be verified by GPS. The bill also allows for future interstate compacts such as the one that has recently been made between Delaware and Nevada who’ve also created legal online gambling. This Slate article predicts that New Jersey is among the first in a wave of a spreading deregulation across the country. Because online poker in New Jersey is doing so well, the World Poker Tour Championship was held in The Borgata Casino and Hotel in Atlantic City this year.

As of the penning of this article there are over 200,000 online accounts and sees more online poker traffic than Poker Stars after the end of the World Series of Poker. AC Gambling Information has more on sites and statistics for residents of New Jersey.

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What this Means for New Jersey Residents

The disappearance of the New Jersey casinos would spell a financial shortcoming for the state government of New Jersey; however the potential for growth in the online market will likely ease the shortfall. Also, this might mean that some of the illegal New Jersey gambling that is run through local bookmakers will transfer over to online methods, therefore falling under tax law. This will most likely be truer in the long term for the Millennials who’ve been raised with the internet and trust it more than previous generations.

More importantly, if other states legalize online gambling and join an interstate compact with New Jersey, the gambling revenues may grow to levels previously unseen by the state. For this reason the state and people of New Jersey should pull to get other nearby states to join in the future of gambling. Eventually, gambling could be on mobile devices like laptops, mobile phones and tablets. Online gambling could not only take some of the revenue of gambling of individual states but could increase the market share of gambling as a whole.

On the whole, things for New Jersey Gambling are potentially bleak but if they take advantage of the opportunities that fate has dealt them, they have a chance to take the whole pot that is the future of online gambling. It’s partly up to New Jersey to grow their opportunities but it’s also partly up to other states to continue to legalize online gambling.

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