Casinos and Online Gambling Join in the Garden State

New Jersey has been known to be the most historically permissive State when it comes to gambling in comparison to other states in the US. Since 2013, New Jersey Residents over 21 are allowed to play legal, real money online poker.

American Democratic Party politician Raymond J. Lesniak was the first one to sponsor a bill to fully legalize online games in the State in 2011, but Governor Chris Christie vetoed it, despite the fact that the bill, against Christie’s concerns, clearly stated that online gambling sites should be located only at Atlantic City licensed casinos. However, to further enforce it and fill in all the possible gaps regarding potential online gambles coming from commercial businesses other than casinos (like bars or nightclubs), a new legislation was outlined, allowing only Atlantic City casinos – no other business – to advertise online gambling. Finally, in 2016, the New Jersey Legislature approved online gambling for a ten year trial period (it further included the use of GPS to verify location of users) and raised the current 8% tax imposed to casinos to 15% in the case of online gambling. Despite the restrictions, the number of online players has rapidly grown, with high profits being reported from this sector.

With a wider audience that has been increasing over the last 5 years, in 2016, New Jersey casino expansion amendment was proposed to allow casino gambling outside of Atlantic City. It was the result of an agreement between democratic state legislators and Governor Chris Christie. Since 1976, Atlantic City has had the monopoly of casino gambling in the State. However, residents voted against the amendment largely due to fear of new competition affecting the historical casinos. Nonetheless, and seeing the large number of current and potential players, at the end of 2016, the State sought to expand online games, with the most important platforms now fully approved in the Garden State. This might translate into a rapid increase of Internet gaming in New Jersey throughout 2017.

Moreover, considering that in 2016 a new revenue record was set for regulated online casinos in NJ, it is clear that it is a more than profitable business that will further boost the State’s income. This goes without saying that renowned newcomers helped expand the market. As a matter of fact, it was towards the end of the year that the number raised. Currently, seven casinos host 19 online gaming sites and an important element about this and all advertisement restrictions is that it is the perfect way to preserve a connection between online and real life platforms, out of fear that the latter could be eventually left aside.

There is a solid audience that visits the State and Atlantic City every year looking forward to having their picture taken at the historical Atlantic City Boardwalk, laying on the sand at the beach, hitting the amusement park, climbing up the lighthouse, going parasailing or climbing on a cruise and – most importantly – spending an evening at the casinos maybe even playing against Don Johnson. This is why the current concern is to prevent online gambling from replacing any of these activities (or affect this part of the tourism sector in New Jersey), which are an important source of income for the city. Therefore, looking not to step on real life casinos and all the activities derived from them that bring profit to the State, online regulations seem to be finding a common ground so that both platforms may coexist and actually help each other increase it’s audience in the future. By now, it has become clear that it is pointless to fight the new ways of playing, and that the best solution is to embrace them, as casino operators and their online affiliates have been doing so far. 

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