A New Jersey Assembly committee is scheduled to meet this week to discuss the future of internet gambling in their state. Internet gambling has proven to be lucrative for Garden State operators, and legislators will debate whether it should continue into the 2030s.
The state legalized some internet wagers in 2013, but that bill is set to expire in late 2023. A new proposed bill would push that deadline back another decade, to 2033.
Legalization occurred at a time when Atlantic City casinos were struggling to retain gamblers amid the launch of new casinos in New York and Pennsylvania. Assemblyman Ralph Caputo commented: “The casino industry was subsiding. It was collapsing at the time. It’s been very helpful in terms of keeping the lights on in Atlantic City. We can’t do without that.”
Atlantic City has seen a substantial benefit from online wagers, with all nine of its casinos allowing sports betting. In 2021, New Jersey brought in almost $1.4bn from internet gaming, a 41% year-on-year increase from the $970m it generated in 2020.
This swell has elevated online gambling to become Atlantic City casinos' second biggest source of income, after slot machines. Since 2015, online wager wins have grown by at least 20% annually, and they’ve often increased by far more.
The clear financial benefit brought by online gaming has already informed many lawmakers' positions on the issue. Caputo says: “I think the growth of the industry has demonstrated the need to keep it in place.” He is the bill’s primary sponsor and chair of the Assembly’s gaming committee.
The bipartisan bill does not yet have a Senate counterpart that would allow it to be cemented into law. However, Caputo is certain that he will find a like-minded lawmaker in the upper chamber after the bill moves out of the House committee.