Legal betting online is currently enjoyed by US citizens in a variety of ways. There are websites which will purchase lottery tickets for you from all the major global lotteries. You can enjoy casino style table games, slots and poker offerings from Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey if you happen to be located in those states. And other US citizens can access legal online casinos, poker rooms and sportsbooks which have legitimately obtained licenses in jurisdictions where Internet gambling is legalized and regulated. By launching online poker, slots and casino table games offered for legal betting online recently, the Atlantic City based legal New Jersey online gambling industry has web gambling proponents and detractors watching closely, and for good reason.
New Jersey enters the United States Internet gambling industry as the most populous yet to deliver legal online betting. Since Nevada only launched Internet poker to a possible player pool of 3 million residents, and Delaware delivers a full slate of casino and poker games to just 1 million residents, concerned eyeballs on both sides of the Internet gambling issue in the United States are closely watching the action in New Jersey. The Garden State claims nearly 9 million residents, so this will be the biggest test to date to see if physical and virtual casinos can exist, and even thrive, in the same environment.
Nearly seven straight years of slumping revenue in land-based Atlantic City casinos is hopefully at an end now that New Jersey has successfully delivered legal betting online for poker, slots and virtual casino table games. In the first three days after a soft launch which began November 21, the state registered 10,000 potential players for the online offering, a number which had grown to more than 37,000 registered players by the 28th. One New Jersey resident who successfully logged on and enjoyed the new and legally offered Internet gambling experience said that he believes the virtual version of casino gambling will actually be very “lucrative for the casinos” since a player winning money online may decide to cash in immediately at the physical casino running the website where he won.
Walton is a 44-year-old tech manager from Westfield, New Jersey, and he believes that a player who wins $500 online will frequently tell himself that he has earned a “free trip” to the physical Atlantic City casinos, and spend that “free money” in a land-based casino. New Jersey is offering loyalty programs and other casino perks, they are also cross promoting online and off, and using the Internet gambling offerings in that state to pitch in-person gambling at the Atlantic City casinos. Six casinos are involved with this initial foray into legalized Internet gambling in New Jersey, with researched estimates by Governor Chris Christie of $1.2 billion in Internet revenue generated the first year of availability.
That number would result in $180 million in taxes, and would solidly place New Jersey as the leader in a young but exploding United States Internet gambling industry. And as with any young industry, there are hurdles and issues that need to be dealt with. Bank of America Corporation, one of the largest banking entities in the United States, has joined American Express in refusing to honor any credit card transaction used for online gambling, whether the transaction is for legally state regulated online gambling or not. Virtual fences are also not perfect, and some potential New Jersey online gamblers who were legally located within New Jersey state boundaries were denied access. Robert Heller is president of Spectrum Gaming Capital, and he says if New Jersey can successfully navigate the bugs and hiccups they have encountered, they can influence as many as 18 other states who are on the fence to legalize Web gambling by 2018.