The New Jersey Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee has advanced legislation to extend legal online gambling in the state for another 10 years. New Jersey legalized online casinos and poker in 2013, but the bill included a ten-year expiration date, and that deadline is coming in November. The proposed legislation, S-3075, seeks to extend the authorization for another ten years until 2033.
The bill makes no changes beyond switching the 10-year limit to 20. It retains all other provisions of the original law, including the 15% tax on gross online casino revenue.
While passing out of committee is an important start, there are still several more procedural steps for S-3075 before it can pass. And the clock is ticking.
Lawmakers had put the bill aside for much of the current legislative session but must prioritize it now. If November rolls around without an extension, New Jersey online casinos and poker rooms will have to shut down.
That said, the extension has bipartisan support and little resistance. In all likelihood, S-3075 should pass on time. A few lawmakers have expressed concern with the increase in gambling addiction that has accompanied expanded gambling. However, New Jersey lawmakers are working on several proposed bills to address the issue. Allowing online gambling to lapse would mean lost jobs and state revenue, so it’s not likely that many would see it as a politically realistic option.
Online Gambling Has Been Very Successful in NJ
Senator Vince Polistina, R-Atlantic City, is one of the bill’s sponsors. He stated that the legalization of online gambling has had a positive impact on Atlantic City casinos, which have struggled since the Great Recession. He emphasized that internet gaming has created numerous well-paying jobs and generated substantial tax revenues for the state, especially in areas like Atlantic City. It also kept the industry afloat while COVID-19 shut down retail gaming.
Revenue numbers prove online gambling has been quite successful in the Garden State. In April, internet gambling earned $159.4 million, a growth of over 16% compared to the previous year. While in-person gambling in Atlantic City has slowed down, online gaming has proven increasingly profitable.
In 2022, iGaming generated $1.66 billion in revenue, a 13-fold increase from 2014, the state’s first full year of online gambling. Since its launch, it has created over $6.1 billion GGR and $910 million in tax revenue. Additionally, online gambling’s market share has increased significantly. In 2014 it stood at 4.5% of the state’s gambling revenue. Last year, it had risen to 29.6%, while this year is on pace to reach 35%.
Some Lawmakers Say Increased Revenue Means Increase in Gambling Addictions
While it has been very profitable for the state, iGaming has also contributed to addictions and problem gambling. However, like much else related to online gambling, New Jersey has been at the forefront of promoting responsible gaming.
The state launched its Responsible Gaming Initiative (RGI) at the beginning of the year. RGI requires operators to monitor problem gambling red flags and share that with the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE). Some red flags include increased betting activity, increased cool-off sessions, and more.
Additionally, NJ lawmakers have proposed several bills to promote responsible gaming further. Some include creating a Gambling Treatment Court and a Responsible Gaming Coordinator. Other bills aim toward younger demographics, such as efforts to impose mandatory treatment for underage gamblers and require gambling education at colleges if they choose to sign sponsorship deals with gambling companies. Other recent initiatives in New Jersey include the creation of a hotline and a state-wide exclusion registry.