Lawmakers in Trenton have taken a significant step toward continuing to permit legal online casino gambling in New Jersey.
On Monday, a bill proposing a 10-year authorization of NJ online casinos advanced out of a state Senate budget committee.
In 2013, New Jersey became the first state to regulate and tax legal online casino gaming. However, the current law permitting online casinos expires in November 2023. The proposed bill, S3075, would extend the authorization until 2033.
Local support for NJ online casinos
Republican Sen. Vince Polistina represents Atlantic City in the State Legislature and is a co-sponsor of the legislation. Following the Senate Budget and Appropriation Committee’s unanimous vote, Polistina said, in part:
“Internet gaming has kept New Jersey at the forefront of an evolving gambling industry. This extension supports the integral role that the internet plays in shaping the current and future success of casinos in New Jersey.”
The bill still needs to be approved by the Assembly and Senate before heading to the desk of Gov. Phil Murphy to be signed into law.
Follow the money
There is very little (if any) political opposition to extend the state’s online gambling laws.
For one, NJ online casino revenue is taxed at a higher rate (15%) than land-based revenue (8%) generated at Atlantic City’s nine casinos.
Since 2013, NJ has collected over $1.065 billion in taxes from online casinos. Through the first four months of 2023, online casino taxes have netted state coffers more than $93 million compared to $56.4 million from Atlantic City’s gambling parlors.
No signs of NJ online casinos down
Since its introduction nearly a decade ago, online gambling’s percentage of the state’s overall gaming market has consistently grown.
In 2014, internet revenue accounted for 4.5% of the statewide total. It was responsible for 10.3% of NJ’s total gaming revenue four years later. Accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting AC casino closures, online gaming revenue’s statewide market share grew to 20% in 2020.
Last year, online casinos generated over $1.66 billion in revenue, accounting for 29.6% of the yearly sum from Atlantic City, internet gambling, and sports betting.
Year-to-date, online casinos are on pace to account for 35% of all gambling revenue in NJ.
According to state budget documents, the forecast for the upcoming fiscal year starting on July 1 predicts an increase in the overall state Casino Revenue Fund collections. The collections expect to reach $526 million, with internet gambling accounting for $287.7 million in revenue during the 2024 fiscal year.