New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is considering signing a bill that will allow internet gambling in the state for another five years. The Legislature approved the bill last Friday.
Ten years ago, New Jersey approved in-state internet gambling. Earlier this year, lawmakers proposed to extend it for another decade. However, an Assembly panel reduced the extension to two years on Tuesday without any discussion or public announcement.
Lawmakers have refused to disclose the reason behind this amendment. The following day, the extension was revised to five years, once again, without explanation.
The Atlantic City casino industry trade association has emphasized the importance of a 10-year extension. This extension is crucial for ensuring the continued prosperity of the casinos.
Gambling industry consultant Daniel Heneghan said the recent changes might have already harmed New Jersey’s internet gambling market. Currently, the market holds a top position nationwide.
“Reducing the time from 10 years to five years is the wrong way to go,” Heneghan said. “It sends the wrong message to companies interested in being involved in internet gaming.”
Since New Jersey commenced internet betting in November 2013, the market has contributed quite a profit to the state. The American Gaming Association reported that Atlantic City’s casinos and their online partners have accumulated $6.29 billion in winnings from gamblers. This figure excludes earnings from online sports bets.
Atlantic City’s casinos credited internet gambling for its crucial role in keeping them afloat during the pandemic. Moreover, it continued to benefit the casinos in the following months as cautious gamblers hesitated to visit crowded indoor spaces.
Speculations are afloat among casino and political officials about the recent changes. The Legislature’s actions may be used as leverage to increase future gambling tax collections by the state. Presently, the tax rates are eight percent for in-person casino winnings, 13 percent for online sports betting and 15 percent for internet gambling.
Nationwide, several states other than New Jersey have legalized online gambling. Each state imposes its own regulations regarding the industry. According to last year’s data, the online gambling market size in the U.S. from 2020 to 2021 was $9.5 billion, with potential for further growth.
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