New Jersey Online Gambling Extension Passes, Headed to Governor’s Desk

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The New Jersey state legislature met at the State House in Trenton (pictured) on Friday, where they approved Assembly Bill 2190. That extends internet gambling in the state for another five years.

Lawmakers passed the bill 37-0 in the Senate and 76-2 in the Assembly after a week of heated debate and last-minute changes.

Last week, an assembly committee voted to reduce the term of the extension to just two years without any public discussions.

The bill to determine the future of online gambling in New Jersey is now in the hands of Governor Phil Murphy (D). His office has given no official statement as of yet, but he is widely expected to sign off on the legislation.

The Chamber of Commerce Southern New Jersey released a statement on the issue to AP News.

“The Chamber is incredibly pleased that the General Assembly shifted away from a drastic and unexpected two-year internet gaming reauthorization through 2028,” it said.

Keeping Atlantic City Alive

Online casinos have been a part of New Jersey’s economy for a decade, bringing in $6.92 billion in revenues.

Operators have shown continued growth during this time, too. This May’s figures topped $161 million for online casinos, up 18.7% year-on-year.

The online market was also a crucial part of Atlantic City’s casino recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic that forced them to shut down for nearly four months in 2020.

The original renewal bill proposed an extension on the legal market of another ten years.

However, in a surprising turn of events last week, an Assembly panel reduced that extension to just two years without any discussion or announcement.

The extension then set at five years by another panel the following day. But again, no explanation was provided for the change.

The lack of explanation for the sudden changes left many leading New Jersey politicians and gambling sector figures concerned.

“No one is going to invest money in a company… if you only have two more years,” said Assemblyman and former Atlantic City mayor Don Guardian (R-2).

“Those things cost money. This has been what’s helping keep Atlantic City alive.”

Tax Leverage Speculation

The Atlantic City casino industry, represented by its trade association, also expressed that a full ten-year extension is crucial for continued success by the NJ casinos.

“Reducing the time from 10 years to five years is the wrong way to go. It sends the wrong message to companies interested in being involved in internet gaming,” said gambling consultant Daniel Heneghan, who has previously worked for the state’s Casino Control Commission.

There has been speculation among Atlantic City casino and political officials that the legislature’s decision might be a strategic move.

Some believe it could be leverage to potentially increase the amount of gambling taxes collected by the state in the future.

Currently, the tax rate is 8% for the state’s physical casinos, 13% for online sports betting, and 15% for internet gambling.

State estimates released on behalf of politicians promoting the extension bill say that online casinos in New Jersey could make $170 million in 2024 and more than $300 million in 2025.

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