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Top 10 facts about the 10-year anniversary of New Jersey iGaming

27 Nov 2023

By Jarrod LeBlanc
While 10 years may not seem like a long time, it’s an accomplishment nonetheless. In November 2013, New Jersey launched online casino gaming. A decade later, it’s clear that while iGaming in the states has come a long way, it doesn’t compare to the exponential growth of the sports betting industry since the Supreme Court abolished the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992 in 2018.

Here, we take a look at the lifecycle of the iGaming industry in the Garden State and across the U.S.

10. Launch of NJ iGaming
Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed NJA2578, which permitted the start of internet gambling in New Jersey, on 26 November 2013, for a 10-year period. This came 36 years after the Casino Control Act was signed into law in 1977. New Jersey was the third U.S. state to introduce some form of iGaming behind Delaware, which signed it into law on 31 October 2013 and also launched in November of 2013, while Nevada, which legalized all forms of gambling in 1931, launched online poker in April of 2013, but to this day does not allow online casino games.

NJA2578 permitted residents and guests of New Jersey to play online versions of the games at the casinos within the borders of the state. It also stated that all online casinos must be tethered to a retail casino and regulated by the New Jersey Division of Gaming, which provided a much-needed boost to the struggling land-based casino industry in Atlantic City.

NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement

NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement

9. NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement
This law enforcement agency and investigative arm of the casino regulatory system is responsible for enforcing the Casino Control Act. Made up of attorneys, investigators, and accountants, it works together with New Jersey State Troopers and Division of Criminal Justice prosecutors.

The NJDGE implemented regulations and conducted licensing and technical investigations to get iGaming kicked off in the Garden State.

8. Synchronized launch of sites
The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement facilitated the launch of 13 online operators on the first day of legal iGaming in the state. 888 Casino New Jersey, 888 Poker New Jersey, Betfair Casino (now FanDuel), Betfair Poker, Borgata Online Casino, Borgata Online Poker, Caesars Palace Online Casino, HarrahsCasino.com, partypoker New Jersey, Tropicana Online Casino, Ultimate Casino, Ultimate Poker, and WSOP.com were the first operators to receive online gambling licenses. The seven casinos and six poker rooms completed a successful soft launch on 21 November 2013.

7. MSIGA
The Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA) went into effect on 25 February 2014. This agreement allows online poker operators to combine player pools across state lines between the member states. Delaware and Nevada were the first two states to enter into MSIGA. New Jersey joined the agreement on 27 September 2017, while it took a while before its next member when Michigan joined on 23 May 2022.

West Virginia was the latest state to join MSIGA as it signed the agreement on 14 November 2023. Despite joining in 2017, player pooling didn’t begin in New Jersey until 2018. WSOP.com/888 as well as PokerStars are the current interstate pools in the Garden State. BetMGM and WSOP.com have yet to start pooling players in New Jersey, even though it’s permissible.

6. PAPSA
The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 was established to define the legal status of sports betting throughout the United States. The sports lotteries in Oregon, Delaware, Montana as well as the sports pools in Nevada were exempt from PAPSA.

In May 2018, the Supreme Court of the United States abolished PASPA, ruling that PAPSA conflicted with the 10th Amendment. Ironically, New Jersey could’ve taken advantage of Congress’ one-year window, which allotted to states that operated licensed casino gambling for previous 10 years, to start sports wagering in 1993, but it didn’t take advantage of this opportunity.

This landmark decision immediately opened the doors for states other than Nevada to implement and launch regulated sports betting. Seven states launched sports betting in 2018, and with the latest launch by Maine there are 38 states that have legalized wagering on sports with a couple on the horizon.

5. iGaming during COVID
In 2020, COVID-19 practically shut down the US; however, it wasn’t all bad for everyone, or in this case everything. iGaming took off during the pandemic, especially in New Jersey.

According to New Jersey’s Stockton University, through 2019, those over 21 years old and over spent less than $500 million per year. In 2020, during COVID-19; however, this figured jumped to $970 million.

4. Senate Bill S3075
On 22 September 2022, New Jersey Senators Democrat James Beach and Republican Vincent J. Polistina filed Senate Bill S3075.

The bill is looking to extend authorization for the iGaming law to 2028. On 30 June 2023, the Senate approved the bill.

3. iGaming net revenue growth
The future looks bright for iGaming, according to the latest report from the American Gaming Association.

During the Q3, which ran from 1 July through 30 September, the industry set a new single-quarter record. From 1 July through 30 September, iGaming recorded $1.52 billion in revenue, which is a 26% increase for the same period in 2022. New Jersey did its part in these numbers as it set a new quarterly revenue record as it totaled $469.6 million.

The industry is on pace for another record year with year-to-date revenue of $4.49 billion, which is up 23.8% from same timeframe in 2022. Since its maiden voyage into the iGaming realm, the industry has generated $16.32 billion in revenue.

2. iGaming tax revenue growth
The tax revenue numbers also deserve their due attention according to the most recent reports from the American Gaming Association. Although only legal in six states, the iGaming industry has brought in $4 billion in state and local taxes since its inception in 2013.

For its part, New Jersey has contributed $1.04 billion. To put it into perspective, the Garden State only generated $1.26 million in taxes in its first year, albeit only two months.

1. iGaming industry growth
In states where both sports betting and online casino games are legal, iCasino regularly generates significantly more tax revenue. For example, in October, Pennsylvania iGaming revenue was up 24% in October, compared to September, clearing over $150 million, triple the amount of sports betting revenue.

So, why is it that while online casino gaming is only live in six states (Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, with Rhode Island going live in 2024), sports betting is live in 38 states?

The common theory is that land-based casino operators feel that online gaming would cut into its brick-and-mortar profits.

In October at the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) in Las Vegas, Howard Glaser, Light & Wonder’s Global Head of Government Affairs and Legislative Counsel, proposed an observation to the crowd during a panel titled, “What's Next For Legal iGaming in the United States?”

“DoorDash and Uber Eats are not a substitute for going to your favorite restaurant,” said Glaser. “One is an experience — one is a convenience.”

The same can be said about retail sportsbooks versus online sportsbook operators.

All this to say, just because bettors can place wagers online, doesn’t mean that will be their first option over going to their favorite retail casinos.

They can co-exist.
 
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