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NJ casinos want 10 more years of internet gambling, but state may only approve 2 more

Digital Brief: June 28, 2023 (AM)
Digital Brief: June 28, 2023 (AM) 02:21

New Jersey's casinos want to extend the state's tops-in-the-nation internet gambling market for another 10 years, but state lawmakers may only approve it for an additional two years.

A state Assembly committee approved a bill Tuesday that originally would have allowed online casino gambling to run through 2033.

But the committee amended it to reduce the extension to just two years. The changes were not made public during the hearing, and lawmakers could not be reached for comment after the vote.

It is unclear when a final vote might be held.

Internet gambling has been a success story in New Jersey, which has won more from online gamblers than any of the five other states that also allow it.

Since New Jersey began taking online bets in November 2013, Atlantic City's casinos and their online partners have won $6.29 billion from gamblers, according to the American Gaming Association, the casino industry's national trade group. That does not include money from online sports bets.

It was widely credited with helping Atlantic City's casinos stay afloat during 3 1/2 months of shutdowns in 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as in the lean months that followed the casinos reopening, as many gamblers remained wary of venturing out to crowded indoor spaces.

"The reauthorization of the internet gaming bill for 10 years is vital to the continued success of the gaming industry in New Jersey and the programs that are supported by the taxes collected," said Mark Giannantonio, president of Resorts Casino Hotel and of the Casino Association of New Jersey. "This will also provide investor confidence in the New Jersey internet gaming industry."

He declined to comment on the change in the bill reducing it from 10 to two years.

While it has undoubtedly provided a new revenue stream for Atlantic City's casinos, internet gambling appears to be permanently changing the habits of some gamblers who would rather bet from home, the office, the beach or other places instead of visiting casinos in person.

Jane Bokunewicz, director of the Lloyd Levenson Institute at Stockton University, which studies the Atlantic City gambling market, said internet gambling is becoming part of the new normal for many gamblers.

While welcoming the additional revenue, casino executives caution that internet gambling winnings can be misleading in terms of the overall health of their businesses. Money from online winnings must be shared with partners like tech platforms and, in the case of sports betting, sports books, and is not solely for the casinos to keep. Some casino executives say as much as 70% of online winnings go to their partners in online ventures.

In addition to New Jersey, internet gambling is legal in Pennsylvania, Nevada, Michigan, Delaware and West Virginia.


Associated Press writer Michael Catalini contributed to this story.

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