Posted on: June 30, 2023, 12:52h.
Last updated on: June 30, 2023, 09:10h.
New Jersey lawmakers are considering whether to extend the state’s 2013 authorization of online casino gambling, which is set to expire at the stroke of midnight on Nov. 27, 2023. Following weeks of negotiations, a consensus has reportedly been found.
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) signed the Garden State’s 2013 iGaming Act into law in 2013. The bill amended the New Jersey Casino Control Act to permit Atlantic City casinos to partner with iGaming firms to operate interactive slot machines and table games over the internet.
Article 6C of the 1976 Casino Control Act was designed to assist the casinos down the shore.
The State and New Jersey’s general public possess a vital interest in the success of tourism and casino gaming in Atlantic City,” the bill justified.
iGaming has certainly achieved the economic benefits that lawmakers and the gaming industry hoped for. Since the first regulated bet was facilitated online in New Jersey on Nov. 26, 2013, internet casinos have generated about $6.3 billion in gross gaming revenue (GGR). The revenue is split between the physical casinos and their third-party iGaming operators.
Article 6C permitted iGaming to run for 10 years. The statute said the online casino privileges for Atlantic City casinos are to expire after 10 years “unless reauthorized by law.”
State lawmakers in Trenton began working on an extension last year, but more pressing matters took precedence. The identical bills, Senate Bill 3075 and Assembly Bill 2190, were shelved in 2022. The legislature reintroduced the bills and gave them committee assignments earlier this month.
The committees are where the bulk of the discussions on how to extend iGaming have been held. After lawmakers initially proposed a 10-year extension, rumblings out of Trenton suggesting that only a two-year lengthening was being considered quickly garnered backlash from the casinos and their political allies.
The bills now say that lawmakers are moving forward with a five-year extension. The statutes propose amending Article 6C to read:
“The authorization to conduct games through the internet … shall expire 15 years following the operative date.”
SB 3075 and AB 2190 have each cleared several committees and could move for full floor votes at any time. New Jersey’s legislative session runs through the end of the year.
iGaming Needed, Casino Execs Say
Atlantic City casinos have voiced frustrations in the past for media outlets highlighting the state’s monthly gaming revenue numbers showing big year-over-year jumps.
Much of the revenue is incurred online, and much of that income goes to the iGaming operators. Casino reps say they also don’t generate room, food and beverage, or other entertainment revenue from an iGaming player like they do a retail patron.
iGaming is nonetheless critical to the overall health of Atlantic City, the casino industry says. Mark Giannantonio, president of Resorts and the Casino Association of New Jersey, told the Associated Press this week that lawmakers not extending online casino privileges would be devastating.
The reauthorization of the internet gaming bill is vital to the continued success of the gaming industry in New Jersey and the programs that are supported by the taxes collect,” Giannantonio said.
New Jersey taxes GGR from iGaming at an effective rate of 17.5%. The state’s share last year from iGaming was $249.1 million.
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