New Jersey could be first US state to expand online gambling

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New Jersey could soon offer online gambling facilities at racetracks.

A new bill has been proposed in the US state which would allow New Jersey racecourses to offer on-site online gambling facilities to punters.

While Internet gambling is already legal in the state of New Jersey it is only permitted provided the online casino is licensed by one of the land-based Atlantic City casinos.

If given the green light, the new bill would enable existing casino operators to team up with Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport and the Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment in East Rutherford to offer online gambling in dedicated areas inside the two racecourses.

Monmouth Park advisor, Dennis Drazin, says it would increase revenue for the racetracks and allow casinos to introduce punters to their online gambling operations.

“This is a win-win for both the racetracks and the casino industry,” Mr Drazin said.

“This would be purely at the will of the casinos; I believe this would give casinos a chance to grow their business.

“It would give them a chance to grow their online business.”

Not everyone is for the proposed legislation with critics suggesting this would only further impede New Jersey’s land-based gambling industry, which has faced a notable decline, by deferring players away from the brick and mortar casinos.

“Allowing any form of casino-like gaming at the Meadowlands, Freehold or Monmouth Park racetracks would most likely have a negative impact on visitation numbers in Atlantic City, although probably not as much as allowing actual full-service casinos as proposed in the recently defeated North Jersey casino referendum,” Market analyst Anthony Marino said.

“The rapid rise of Internet gaming in New Jersey has already cut into visitor numbers travelling to Atlantic City; expanding that experience to racetracks close to the dense central and North Jersey population would give additional convenience gamblers reason to avoid the journey south to Atlantic City.”

The bill proposal has come just one month after New Jersey residents overwhelmingly rejected more land-based casinos as they took to the polls for a state-wide referendum last November.

Author's comments

New Jersey is one of three US states which allows online gambling and it is the most successful – a total of $16.7 million in revenue was reported in October 2016.

Since Internet gambling is already legal in New Jersey, the bill is likely to pass and will act as means for casino operators to show just how online gambling works to punters who would normally avoid the realm of digital gambling. While critics may say it will only add to the decline in land-based casino visitors, it will add to the incline in online gambling which is owned by these land-based casinos.

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