A huge base for an offshore wind turbine, called a monopile, sits atop in-wheel motors in Paulsboro, NJ on Thursday, July 6, 2023. A tangle of litigation is delaying the start of New Jersey's first offshore wind energy project, as developer Orsted is suing governments to stop delaying necessary permits, and citizen groups seek to shut down the project altogether.  (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

New Jersey Casinos Want 10 More Years of Internet Gambling, But NJ Could Approve Only 2 More

TRENTON, NJ (AP) New Jersey casinos want to expand the nation’s top Internet gambling market for another 10 years, but state lawmakers could only approve it for two more years.

A state assembly committee on Tuesday passed a bill that would originally have allowed gambling in online casinos until 2033.

But the committee changed 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 other state that allows it.

Since New Jersey began accepting online bets in November 2013, Atlantic City 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. This does not include money from online sports betting.

It has been widely credited with helping Atlantic City casinos stay afloat during the 3 1/2 months of closure in 2020 at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the lean months that followed the casinos reopening, as many gamblers remained wary of venturing into crowded indoor spaces.

The reauthorization of the 10-year Internet gaming bill is vital to the continued success of the New Jersey gaming industry and the programs that are supported by the taxes it collects, said Mark Giannantonio, president of Resorts Casino Hotel and the Casino Association of New Jersey. This will also provide investor confidence in the New Jersey Internet gaming industry.

He declined to comment on changing the bill which cuts it from 10 years to two.

While it has undoubtedly provided a new revenue stream for Atlantic City casinos, Internet gambling appears to be permanently changing the habits of some gamblers who prefer to wager from home, the office, the beach, or other locations 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 warn that internet gambling payouts can be misleading in terms of the overall health of their businesses. Money from online winnings must be shared with partners such as technology platforms and, in the case of sports betting, sports books, and is not reserved exclusively for casinos. Some casino executives say up to 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.

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Associated Press writer Michael Catalini contributed to this story.

Follow Wayne Parry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/WayneParryAC


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