New Jersey net casinos could be expanding their reach

Golden Nugget live dealers

If New Jersey senator Raymond Lesniak gets his way, online casinos based in that state may soon be accepting bets from players around the world.

Presently, New Jersey online casinos can only accept bets from residents living within state borders. There is also a requirement that the casinos’ servers be based in Atlantic City (inside the premises of licensed terrestrial casinos). On Wednesday Lesniak promised to soon introduce a bill that would scrap both of these requirements.

The proposed bill (which has yet to be drafted) will allow residents of other jurisdictions where online gambling has been legalized to play at New Jersey’s online casinos; this would include residents of Nevada and Delaware as well as players outside the United States.

International operators will also be invited to base their operations within New Jersey and compete with Atlantic City casinos for a share of a worldwide online playing market.

Lesniak described his vision to CNBC during the week.

“I’ve changed my mission from making New Jersey the Silicon Valley of Internet gaming to the Mecca of Internet gaming….Online gaming has helped Atlantic City to revive its casino sector with a success that we can expand in ways that will generate more revenue, create jobs and fuel technological innovation in gaming.”

It’s not the first time such a bill has been proposed, with a similar (also Lesniak introduced) piece of  legislation voted down in the senate in 2013.  At that time NJ’s licensed online casinos were finding their feet in their first year of operation. It wasn’t a first year that set the world on fire.

Analysts expectations of New Jersey annual online gaming revenues ranged from $300 to $500 million. Governor Chris Christie was touting up to $1 billion. The reality early days fell well short of any of these numbers.

However strong growth in the last couple of years has seen the new industry being credited with the revival (or survival) of Atlantic City’s casinos and giving a much need fillip to the economy. 2016’s take of US$196.7 million was up 32% on 2015. The first half of 2017 ($121 million) is up 28% on the same period last year.

Fiscal benefits are now being felt, and for this reason some believe NJ lawmakers may be more receptive to Lesniak’s bill this time around.

More US based live dealer operations?

US based and licensed live dealers are already up and running. Golden Nugget lead the charge with their Ezugi powered tables launching last year. Earlier this year Betfair added the Golden Nugget/Ezugi live tables…only accessible by New Jersey residents of course.

But with present intrastate player and operator restrictions it’s a small market lacking in competitive offerings (the Golden Nugget live roulette table is an American version with 0 and 00 which wouldn’t fly with global players).

Should Lesniak’s bill get over the line we will no doubt see the world’s premier live games providers lining up to set-up shop in New Jersey.

A new NJ studio for Evolution Gaming to go with the one they are soon to launch north of the border in Vancouver? Playtech certainly wouldn’t want to miss out on the party. Authentic would be looking to stream action from tables on the floors of the Borgata, Caesars and Tropicana.

Sheldon Adelson would not be happy.

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