A bipartisan piece of legislation making its way to final approval in the New Jersey Legislature in June seeks to allow online casino gambling to remain legal for 10 more years in the state. The move would ensure revenue worth millions of dollars would keep flowing into state coffers.
In order to maintain what the bill’s supporters describe as a vital attraction for Atlantic City casinos, New Jersey lawmakers need to take action in just a few months because the law that first authorized online casino gambling in the state back in 2013 did so only temporary, for a period of 10 years. According to the legislation that was approved by a key state Assembly last week, the deadline for the piece of legislation to be renewed is in November 2023.
The same bill is supposed to be reviewed on Monday by members of the Senate’s budget committee, which means it could make it to the desk of Governor Phil Murphy for final consideration by the end of June.
Even if the bill is given the green light, it would not make online casino gambling permanently legal in the state. The form of gambling would be legalized for another 10 years, allowing New Jersey lawmakers to keep it as part of the state’s legal gambling sector for another ten years.
Under the current law that first established online casino gambling in the state in 2013 by then-Governor Chris Christie, gambling websites are required to operate in partnership with Atlantic City’s brick-and-mortar casinos. Such a relationship would still be required under the renewed piece of legislation that needs to be adopted by New Jersey lawmakers before the deadline in November in order to make sure that online casino gambling is allowed to continue operating undisturbed in the state through 2033.
Online Gambling an Integral Part of New Jersey’s Gambling Sector, Bill’s Sponsors Say
The supporters of the bill, who are willing to see online casino gambling remain legally permitted in the state, have claimed that it had provided a lifeline for the Atlantic City casinos, especially at the time when the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic forced Governor Murphy issue orders that shut the local economy down.
During the latest hearing on the issue in Trenton, that point was repeated once again, with the proponents of the proposed piece of legislation saying it was exactly online gambling that had been a huge help to the casinos, especially at the time of the coronavirus pandemic.
Apart from that, the bill’s supporters noted that online casino gambling account for tax revenue that has steadily increased after originally generating only small amounts of money. According to budget documentation, online casino gambling has accounted for over $250 million in yearly tax collections for the state of New Jersey in more recent years via the Casino Revenue Fund.
According to data provided by the state’s Division of Gaming Enforcement, online casino gambling is currently subject to a 15% rate, with a portion of the gross revenue also going to the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority.
The piece of legislation seeking to renew the legalization of online casino gambling in New Jersey for 10 more years was first introduced in 2022. At the time when an initial committee hearing took place, online gambling was described as a crucial part of the state’s gambling industry by the former Atlantic City mayor Don Guardian.
For the time being, there are currently 31 online gambling platforms that operate as affiliates of the nine Atlantic City casinos that are currently operational in New Jersey. The bill’s proponents claim that all of these online gambling sites had been a massive asset to the region, especially in the southern part of the state.
As the renewal measure is making progress, however, the last few months have also seen much concern regarding the increasing problem gambling rates in the state, with opponents claiming that the state Government needs to make further efforts to help gambling addicts. One of the main concerns that have recently emerged is associated with the fact that gamblers no longer need to drive to Atlantic City to place their bets, including wagers on sporting events.