(Gloucestercitynews.net)(June 4, 2020)--The Garden State was among the first to bet big on online gaming, and it’s paying off in a big way with revenues skyrocketing to a record high of $80 million in April. This is a 118.6 percent increase compared to April of 2019, according to the New Jersey’s Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE).
These numbers are up nearly $15 million from March, as customers have decided to switch gears and gravitate to the convenience that online gaming provides, with slot games being the most popular. Poker players are following suit and online poker has more than tripled year-on-year to $5.15 million.
Major shifts are occurring on the New Jersey Gambling Market as leading gaming developer Playtech has received approval by the NJDGE to offer its products in the state.
The UK betting and gaming operator has announced that it expects to launch shortly in the state under a transactional waiver with Hard Rock International (Atlantic City) and bet365 Group Ltd.
"This is a major milestone for Playtech,” said Chief Executive Officer Mor Weizer. The company plans to roll out its casino products first, then increase its offer by including sports betting and live table games as further states loosen regulation. “This is the first step for Playtech in the U.S, and we are very excited about the long-term opportunity," added Weizer.
Playtech has been in business since 1999. The company is on the London Stock Exchange and is constituent of the FTSE 250 Index. It’s a major player in the sector with annual revenues of close to $1.7 billion.
New Jersey Sports Betting Expectations
Though records are set, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows in every sector of online gaming. Sports betting is still alive but it’s only barely keeping its footing.
With land-based sportsbooks closed and the shutdown of nearly all major sporting events, betting on sports has plummeted to $2.63 million. An 87.6% decrease from the same month the year prior.
FanDuel Meadowlands led the chart with a poor $1.63 million, while runner-up Resorts Digital took in $604K, and the William Hill/Monmouth Park duo ranked third with $182K.
These numbers will remain low until professional teams make a return to their respective fields or courts. Then, naturally, a major jump will happen.
New Jersey sports betting generated $4.58 billion in 2019, with operators making $300 million in revenues, of which $38 million went into the state’s tax coffers. Many projected even bigger numbers for 2020.
New Jersey Gambling Laws
New Jersey is often seen as a progressive state when it comes to gambling legislation. However, the truth is that it’s been a bumpy road when it comes to regulating the activity.
Lotteries were commonplace until an 1844 ban. In 1894 the state’s legislature banned pari-mutuel gambling and three years later following a referendum all gambling became illegal.
In 1953 things started to loosen as organizations could host bingos and raffles. In 1976, casino gambling in Atlantic City, New Jersey became legal. Technically, the answer to the question - when was gambling legalized in New Jersey, is in 1977, when the New Jersey Casino Control Act passed into law. A year later, Resorts Atlantic City casino opened.
In February of 2013, New Jersey Legislature passed bill A2578 and legalized online gambling in an attempt to stimulate Atlantic’s City’s economy. Now, land-based casinos could apply for online gaming permits and partner with iGaming providers.
In 2012, the state’s then-governor Chris Christie signed legislation allowing sports betting in the state’s many gaming establishments. All the major sports leagues challenged it by filing a federal lawsuit against the state. The US District Court judge ruled in their favor by barring New Jersey from issuing sports betting licenses.
However, in May of 2018, The US Supreme Court lifted the ban on sports betting, ruling that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was unconstitutional. This allowed New Jersey on June 11, that same year, to legalize the activity at casinos and racetracks within the state’s borders.