As you most likely know, gambling laws vary greatly across the USA, with some states adopting stricter stances than others. New Jersey is an example of a state that has chosen to relax its position and encourage some forms of the activity, including iGaming.
NJ has made headlines lately after making moves to extend its online gambling market by a decade. But what are the chances that these efforts will follow through, and if they do, what does this mean for the future of New Jersey and its people?
The Current iGaming Laws in New Jersey
All gambling laws in New Jersey are among the least restrictive in the United States, and this includes those surrounding iGaming. The forms of permitted gambling in NJ are casinos, social and charity gambling, horse racing, iGaming, and sports betting.
Among the most popular types of betting are casino games and sports wagering. Nowadays, there is a long list of slots sites available in New Jersey, as well as plenty of options for other popular casino games like roulette, poker, and baccarat. Sports betting is also available for all major leagues, such as the NHL, MLB, and NFL, through online sportsbooks.
Online gaming was first introduced as a possibility in New Jersey in 2011, when the New Jersey Legislature passed a bill to allow the activity for residents over the age of 21. At this time, gambling was only legal in casino resorts in Atlantic City, so all betting sites had to be operated out of this region.
It was not until a few years later, in 2013, that the first online gambling sites went live in the form of digital casino games. From this point on, betting and gaming options expanded greatly; by 2017, there were over ten different online casino operators that offered countless well-known games. Around the same time, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement legalized online poker rooms, which became instantly popular as they allowed players to play for real money.
Legislation approving sports betting in NJ went ahead in June 2018 with Assembly Bill 4111, which allowed it to go ahead at racetracks and casinos. It also allowed these two sites to host online sports betting, which ended up becoming a huge part of the current New Jersey iGaming industry.
Initially, all of these games were only able to be played with other NJ residents. However, this changed in October 2017, when the state signed a deal with Nevada and Delaware that permitted citizens of each region to play casino games with each other.
The Future of iGaming in New Jersey
With the success of the internet gaming industry in New Jersey over the past decade, it’s no wonder that the state is attempting to extend the market for a longer period of time. At present, Article 6C of the iGaming Act allows online gambling for ten years, after which time the market will cease unless “reauthorized by law.”
From November 2013, when iGaming was legalized, up until now, casinos in Atlantic City and their online counterparts have generated revenue of $6.29 billion, and this is not even taking into account any profits from sports betting. And, revenue shows an almost continuous pattern of increasing month-on-month.
Lawmakers are debating over how long to attempt to extend the industry by, with some officials advocating for two or five years, and others wanting another ten. Either way, lengthening the permit of the iGaming market will largely aid the financial health of the casino and gambling industries in New Jersey. This is because investors will see the success of Atlantic City’s casino resorts and online partners, and feel confident in contributing.
The President of Resorts and the Casino Association of New Jersey, Mark Giannantonio, explained that “the reauthorization of the internet gaming bill is vital to the continued success of the gaming industry in New Jersey and the programs that are supported by the taxes collected”.
Another knock-on effect of the extension of iGaming in NJ is the shift from people traveling to casinos to gamble to staying at home, as betting sites now have everything that they need. Residents can gamble from anywhere in the state, as long as they have a mobile device with them, and choose from hundreds of classic and new games. They can partake in slots, multiplayer games, sports bets, bingo, casino games, and more without ever stepping foot inside a casino.
It’s unclear at the moment if the iGaming industry will be extended or not, as there is no definitive date for when the state will vote on the matter. No matter which decision is made, it will have a big impact on the future of the iGaming market in New Jersey, and the wider gambling world.