New Jersey has become the Nevada of the East in online casino entertainment to NJ residents and visitors. In fact, in many ways, New Jersey has eclipsed Nevada. Now other states are analyzing New Jersey’s policies and actions in order to open up their own successful online poker and additional online betting operations.
Online Gambling in the United States
Currently there are four states that offer legal play poker online websites – Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania. Based on New Jersey’s successes in reaping high revenues from the online poker industry, additional states are expected to join that number in the coming months.
What has brought New Jersey, once a distant poor cousin to Nevada’s mega-gaming industry, to be considered Nevada’s biggest competitor? New Jersey adopted online casino gambling only 6 years ago. The earliest online games didn’t include poker but within the year, New Jersey was able to get online poker rooms up and running. The state has never looked back.
As state legislatures across the country consider whether or not to adopt online gaming, they have begun to look to New Jersey as a source of inspiration.
New Jersey Online Gambling
This past September, New Jersey’s online gambling platforms generated $67.3 mm in revenue, according to figures from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement. In addition to online poker, the statistics include sports betting, online slots and online table games. That’s more than Nevada’s revenues from online gaming.
The majority of the income was from one particular online poker site which accounted for close to $41.4 million. Most of the rest was from sports betting. September 2019 was a record for New Jersey and analysts expect the percentage to continue to increase, even as retail table and slot game revenue stagnates. During the first 9 months of 2019, traditional Atlantic City gaming win rose 8.5% over the same period last year. During that time, online casino revenue was up 57%.
The successes of NJ online poker and other casino games is spurring other states to follow. Some of the lessons that have been learned from the Garden State success story include:
The technology exists to support online casino gaming on a large scale, even in complicated situations. Europe’s regulated markets have been demonstrating this for several years and now it’s possible to see it working in America as well.
Geolocation tools are of paramount importance in this effort because they ensure that bettors are physically located in states that have legislated online gaming when the bets are placed. The tools work so well that players in New York actually cross the NJ border to the first rest stop on the highway to place wagers just a couple of miles into New Jersey and then return home across the NY-NJ border.
There have been cases of tech-savvy players who were able to subvert the system but they were caught and the systems that they used to bet from a neighboring state were corrected.
As mentioned, there’s a huge revenue for state coffers waiting to be mined from online casino play. Within months after the online gaming launch in New Jersey, the casinos were generating tens of millions of dollars in revenue. That doubled in 2017 and nearly tripled in 2018.
The state is collecting its portion which is being put to use in education and public works projects. Now that NJ offers online sports betting, the income to the state is expected to explode. That’s good news to cash-strapped governors and legislators who are struggling to put together their budgets.
Even where online casino gaming is available, land-based casinos continue to thrive. Sheldon Adelson, CEO of Las Vegas Sands, famously threatened that he would make sure that online gambling doesn’t get a foothold in Nevada and other big casino operators agree. Yet the lesson learned in New Jersey is that the presence of online casinos doesn’t negatively impact brick-and-mortar casinos. That means that the online venues don’t cost the state jobs and tax dollars.
In New Jersey, land-based casino revenue has increased every year over the last 3 years. It’s true that it’s increasing at a slower rate than that of online venues but the income for brick-and-mortar casino sites is not decreasing. In fact, New Jersey casinos, which compete with online casinos, continue to outpace the national average in monthly income.
In New Jersey, where plenty of illegal gambling takes place, it’s clear that people prefer regulated sites for online gambling. The public seems very aware that they can get burned when betting at an unsupervised site. Now that regulated online venues are available in New Jersey, almost all NJ bettors use those sites. Officials have come to the conclusion that the best way to stamp out illegal gambling is to provide a legal alternative.
Operators are learning that one advantage of online gambling is that it allows game designers to experiment with types of games that would be impossible or impractical in a physical environment. This is especially true in games of online poker. Operators can now offer alternatives such as lottery-style sit-and-goes (LSNGs) and fast-fold cash games. All of the games are open to all players with no table limits – something that isn’t found any longer in land-based casino locales.
Another new feature involves slot machines with augmented reality (AR) features that create an experience that goes beyond what would be possible to supply in a physical environment. Regarding sports betting, bettors now have the option to place in-play bets, receive early payouts and make transactions via electronic funding.
New Jersey fought long and hard to build a thriving casino industry and now it’s paying off as New Jersey leads the country in the online casino industry.