New Jersey’s online gambling hard launch kicked off yesterday under the watchful eye of the entire industry.
Despite a number of payment processing and geolocation issues that were to be expected, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement gave the thumbs up to six of the seven licensed casinos to open up their virtual doors to all adults within state borders.
The Golden Nugget has decided to continue under test mode for a bit longer, while the Tropicana, Borgata, Bally’s, Trump Plaza, Caesars and Trump Taj Mahal are open for Internet business. Over a dozen online gambling sites are now available to those who visit or call New Jersey home.
Lawmakers from several other states such as Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Illinois and California have indicated a desire to consider online gambling legislation in coming months. Legislators from those states and others will be watching New Jersey closely and analyzing just how beneficial an igaming endeavor might play out in their own states.
While some knowledge can be gained from observing the online poker and gambling regimes of both Nevada and Delaware, it is New Jersey that will likely be viewed as a litmus test for the rest of the country. The smaller populations of both Delaware and Nevada make the sample size of those schemes somewhat lacking as a proper representation. Add to that the fact that Nevada is poker-only and it’s easy to see why New Jersey and its population of over nine million will be under the microscope.
A main issue to many states is whether or not online gambling will mean decreased attendance at casinos. It is hoped by many that older citizens who frequent casinos continue to do so, while the younger, more computer-savvy crowd embrace gambling via the Internet.
Atlantic City casinos have seen revenue shrink for seven consecutive years. Much of that was due to more casinos popping up in neighboring states. Recent studies indicate that online gambling may turn the tide for the struggling New Jersey casinos. That is exactly what the rest of the country wants to know, whether the land-based and virtual casinos can thrive simultaneously.
If they can, we can expect the legislatures of other states to jump on the online poker and gambling bandwagon. But first, all eyes remain on New Jersey to determine if overall revenue will be as lucrative as some projections have indicated.