New Jersey Casino Bills Are Still Being Discussed

New Jersey, and Atlantic City, in particular, is home to a large and successful casino industry. Years ago, lawmakers presented plans to allow more gambling venues to open in the state. Recently, state officials have begun looking at several New Jersey casino bills once again.New Jersey

Some feel that adding new casinos will help to bring the state significantly more revenue. Others worry about the impact it will have on Atlantic City. Let’s take a look at what exactly may be changing here.

Coronavirus Has Officially Hit New Jersey

There are many different gambling venues in New Jersey. Most consider this state the second-largest gambling hub in the country. Today, news broke that two cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed here.

It’s unclear exactly how many people in the US have already been infected with this virus. Estimates list it at around 200. Most feel the true number is significantly higher.

New York has already recorded several cases of the coronavirus. New Jersey now has several of its own. The second was confirmed to be a patient in his 30s. It’s unclear whether or not he managed to spread the virus to others.

Some worry about this virus hitting Atlantic City. Here, thousands of people are crammed inside massive casinos. These gambling venues are ideal places for the virus to spread from person to person.

This virus has the potential to significantly damage a state’s casino industry. Several major Las Vegas casino companies are already seeing their stock prices fall after reports of a coronavirus infection in Clark County. We’ll be monitoring the situation in New Jersey and reporting on how quickly it spreads.

Lawmakers Take Another Look at New Jersey Casino Bills

Back in 2016, several New Jersey politicians presented a bill that would allow for new gambling venues to be constructed outside of Atlantic City. The plan was to allow casinos in the suburbs near the border with New York. Some felt it would help to draw in most tourists.

Interestingly, lawmakers unanimously voted to reject these plans. Many felt this would take away from the revenue that Atlantic City earns. AC relies heavily on its gambling industry for money.

In January, another set of New Jersey casino bills was introduced that once again calls for the legalization of casinos outside of Atlantic City. Lawmakers are looking at this bill and feel it may be a way to prepare in case Atlantic City suffers some type of breakdown.

Ralph Caputo, a former casino executive in New Jersey, spoke about the bills to the media this week.

“We want to see Atlantic City succeed,” he said. “These bills are in case Atlantic City gets into trouble. The signal it sends is that we’re watching carefully to see if we need to act on this. But not at this time; I want to make that clear.”

The Casino Association of New Jersey still opposes these plans. It remains to be seen whether or not the plans will be approved.

Esports Betting Starts to Take Off in New Jersey

The popularity of Esports betting has taken off in recent years. This is especially true with younger people who enjoy watching video game streams through platforms like Twitch. Recently, lawmakers in New Jersey presented plans to start regulating Esports gambling.

This has been a long time coming. Many have asked state officials to present bills to allow Esports wagering, arguing that the revenue it earns the state would be massive. Now, this form of sports betting will be allowed during tournaments not involving minors.

The aforementioned Ralph Caputo commented on this decision, as well.

“This is the next big thing in gaming,” he said. “We want to be ahead of the curve on this. The millennial generation is into this in a major way.”

Esports betting is expected to be a massive success here. Soon, sportsbooks across the state will start offering odds on this new industry. We’ll get revenue reports on this industry soon.

The New Jersey casino bills are still being discussed by lawmakers. We’ll get a better idea as to how the state views these plans over the next few months.

It’s an interesting time in the state’s gambling industry. Stay tuned for updates over the next few months!

Sports Betting at Freehold Raceway is On Its Way

New Jersey legalized sports betting back in June of 2018, less than a month after the Supreme Court struck down PASPA. Since that time, the state’s sports betting industry has grown dramatically. This week, a measure to allow sports betting at Freehold Raceway was approved by a city council.New Jersey

It’s exciting news for visitors to this racetrack. It should help to bring in significantly more money to the state, too. Today, we’ll look at the state of NJ’s sports betting industry.

Let’s get into it!

New Jersey’s Sports Betting Industry Continues to Grow

Lawmakers in New Jersey were instrumental in getting the Supreme Court to remove PASPA. Many analysts felt that this state would quickly develop a large and successful sports gambling industry. These predictions have turned out to be correct.

Gambling revenue in this state has continued to increase since sports betting laws were approved. The majority of money is being earned in Atlantic City. Here, a huge number of major casino-resorts are operating.

Allowing sports betting helped to significantly improve Atlantic City. A massive influx of visitors began flocking here to make their wagers through land-based sportsbooks. As a result, casino revenue increased here, too.

This industry growth isn’t slowing down, either. Revenue continues to increase here. New reports indicate that January of 2020 saw a 23% revenue increase from the same month the year prior.

Now, sports betting at Freehold Raceway is being discussed. Owners of this track have spoken about plans to allow sports gambling for years. Now, these plans are finally being put in motion.

Sports Betting at Freehold Raceway May Come in 2020

It’s amazing to see land-based sports betting continue to generate revenue in New Jersey. Some felt this would eventually taper off, as online sports gambling is freely available throughout the state. This goes to show that many individuals still prefer to make their bets the only fashioned way.

Another venue is now preparing to allow this form of gambling. Officials at the Freehold Raceway received approval from the city council to offer sports betting at the track. Now, owners of the racetrack will need to request a sports betting license from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.

Steve Gallo, a Freehold Borough Administrator, commented on these plans to the media this week.

“What we have is a very preliminary two-page document that states their plan is to do some renovations within the envelope of the existing structure,” he said. “They’re not adding anything new. It’s not going to trigger any major land use application or anything like that, and this is their first step towards getting a license from the DGE.”

That’s certainly true. This is just the first step needed to allow sports betting at Freehold Raceway. It may be some time before any sports gambling options actually open here.

The state’s other two race tracks currently allow sports betting. Since launching sportsbooks, the tracks have brought in a combined $250 million in sports gambling revenue. Freehold Raceway now wants a piece of that revenue pie.

Is The Coronavirus Having an Effect On Atlantic City?

Since December of 2019, the world has been working to contain the spread of Covid-19, a coronavirus originating in Wuhan China. Thus far, containment efforts have failed. The virus has now spread all over the world including the United States.

About 130 people have been infected across 16 states. Several deaths have now occurred in different states. Washington is the worst-affected state right now.

No cases have yet been confirmed in New Jersey. New York, on the other hand, is dealing with a rising infection rate. It seems like just a matter of time before NJ is hit.

This virus can take a significant toll on the casino industry. It essentially forced Macau to shut down for weeks. Some worry about the effects that the Coronavirus will have on Las Vegas.

For now, Atlantic City remains safe from the new virus. It remains to be seen how officials will tackle this issue. Closing casinos here may eventually be the only option.

Sports betting at Freehold Raceway is on its way. This is exciting news for those in the Freehold Borough area.

Stay tuned for more updates on this situation over the next few months!

Could Esports be New Jersey’s Next Big Gambling Market?

Guy Playing Game on Computer, Esports
Since legalizing sports betting in 2018, New Jersey has only shown positive results from the sports wagering market. In fact, the Garden State hit a new record for the month of January, with over $540 million wagered. That’s more than Las Vegas has ever made in revenue leading up to the month of January, having yet to surpass the $500 million mark.

Casino Retail Revenue Internet Revenue Total Revenue
Bally’s $164,575 $491,164 $655,739
Borgata $723,927 $2,460,264 $3,184,191
Golden Nugget $116,266 $431,643 $547,909
Hard Rock $4,467 $340,933 $336,466
Harrah’s $107,424 $0 $107,424
Ocean Casino $377,369 $1,963,678 $2,341,047
Resorts Casino $163,436 $15,895,379 $16,058,815
Tropicana $100,288 $74,379 $174,667
Meadowlands Racetrack $4,275,047 $22,197,511 $26,472,558
Monmouth Racetrack $833,716 $2,799,094 $3,682,810

With the market in sports wagering doing so well, it points to the realm of esports being the next big, natural extension for the gambling market in New Jersey.

Esports: A Market Made for Millennials

In 2019 alone, data retrieved from Newzoo showed that esport’s global revenue passed the $1 billion mark. By 2023, viewership is projected to reach 646 million, at a steady 9% compounded annual growth rate, according to Business Insider Intelligence.

Extending the law to reach esports would diversify New Jersey’s growth market, especially since the esports market is predominately made of millennials, the generation who grew up on video games. It gives New Jersey a chance to diversify not only their growth channels, but the demographics making up their revenue earnings.

While physical, on-site gambling has typically appealed to the older demographic, online gamblers are by large made up of younger participants. Factor in esports gamblers, and you lower the overall age group of gambling across the different markets.

So far, the legalized sports law has bipartisan support in the lower house of the legislature and support from the state’s gambling regulator.

The Global Rise of Esports

For the past decade really, esports has been on the steady rise in the US, and it only continues to grow in popularity with each passing year. Thanks to the gaming generation and streaming culture, and online platforms like YouTube, Twitch and Mixer, competitive video gaming has become not only extremely popular, but profitable.

In fact, top participants in gaming tournaments are raking in seven-figures. Top players even become recognized celebrities in the world of esports. Video game players can even earn significant amounts of money through paid sponsorships, wearing jerseys with sponsors name with they live stream.

Esports popularity isn’t just found in the US either but has expanded its reach to countries like South Korea, Vietnam, China, Germany, and France, to name a few.

N.J. Earns $837m from Mobile Sports Bettors in N.Y., Stats Put Pressure On Albany

Casino Slot Machine Floor, State of New Jersey
After a new study reported that New Jersey has received a mind-boggling $837 million in sports bets from mobile gamblers that live in New York, the pressure is on to legalize mobile sports betting in the Empire State.

New York is losing out in millions in tax revenue dollars, and with the state facing a whopping $6 billion deficit, the time to bet on legalized sports betting is now. One lawmaker is looking to change the current start of legalized mobile wagering as soon as possible, to prevent losing out even further.

State Senator, Joseph Addabbo, one of the biggest advocates of legalizing mobile sports betting in the state, said New York is “losing money in terms of educational funding. We are losing job growth. We’re losing the fact that we have an illegal activity already going on here in sports betting — we’re not recapturing that revenue. So, New York is losing out on a very large, growing market at this point.”

In response to whether New York has a market for legalized sports betting? Addabbo said confidently:

“Oh yes, our residents can’t wait to do this. They want accessibility in their own state. They want to do it in a safe environment, legally, in their own state. They are tired of going to New Jersey. They are tired of having an offshore, European online account, where it is questionable where their money is. They want to make sure they’re using the organized, regulated, safe mobile sports betting right here in New York state.”

Mobile Sports Betting Standstill in N.Y.

While Senator Addabbo is all for legalizing mobile sports betting in New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo is on the opposing side. Cuomo didn’t include mobile sports betting revenue in his executive budget for the 2021 fiscal year, even going as far as calling online betting “irresponsible” in his state address.

According to Cuomo, “this is not the time to come up with creative although irresponsible revenue sources to solve a problem which doesn’t really exist.”

The time is ticking to get the governor on board for mobile sports gambling legalization. According to Addabbo, the state has until March to do just that. And their best bet is getting it put into the budget:

“We can introduce a separate bill, but it’s much more likely if it goes in the budget,” Addabbo said.

Legal Sports Betting in N.Y.

Although legalized mobile betting isn’t a possibility in the state as of now, Governor Cuomo has included a small sports betting expansion in his budget proposal.

Currently, on-site sports betting is allowed at authorized casinos, and restricted to those casino’s designated sports lounge areas. Cuomo’s expansion would allow gamblers to bet anywhere on casino grounds, not just the designated sports lounge areas.

The authorized New York casinos include: Resorts World Catskills, Rivers Resort & Casino Schenectady; Tioga Downs, and del Lago Casino & Resort.

In full-service casinos operated by the Akwesasne Mohawk, Oneida, and Seneca nations, sports betting in their lounges is also permissible.

Caesars-Eldorado Merger Deal Pending New Jersey’s Approval

Ariel View of Atlantic CityThe $17.3 billion merger between Caesars Entertainment Corp. and Eldorado Resorts Inc. is still dependent on approval from 14 state regulatory agencies and the Federal Trade Commission, including New Jersey.

So far, four state regulatory bodies have approved of the merger, including Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Iowa and Illinois.

The merger will grant Eldorado Resorts control of close to 60 casinos in the country. While no explicit deadline for New Jersey regulators to make an approval decision on the merger decision has been set, gaming operators expect a deal finalization within the first half of 2020.

One reason New Jersey could be delaying approval are concerns they’ve cited over the economic concentration the deal would cause in the state, and Atlantic City turning into something of a monopoly.

Dan Heneghan, former public information officer for the Casino Control Commission (now retired) and former casino beat reporter for The Press of Atlantic City, said state gaming regulators are “concerned about economic concentration in the casino industry for many of the same reasons that the (federal) Justice Department is concerned about monopolies in industry in general.”

“If you have a monopoly, or something close to a monopoly, there’s always the concern that the big player can effectively set prices,” Heneghan said.

Back in September, Caesars Entertainment and Eldorado Resorts presented a joint petition to NJ regulators, and stated their intentions of providing an economic analysis that would disprove their merger would cause an undue economic concentration.

New Jersey and Atlantic City Play Major Role in Deal

Since the newly formed company will control nearly half of the resort’s casinos (four out of the nine total casinos), New Jersey and AC will play a major role in the deal. Under its current designations, the company merger will employ 40% of casino industry workers in Atlantic City and represent almost 37% of their total gaming revenue.

Currently, Caesars Entertainment has three outstanding deed restrictions on former casino properties. Those include the former Atlantic Club Casino Hotel, the Claridge Hotel and the Showboat Hotel Atlantic City. These restrictions disallow them to operate as gaming parlors and adds some stress to the current deal.

The Attorney General’s Office, who advised that New Jersey gaming regulators would also be retaining an expert, said this in an email:

“As required by law, the Division is responsible for ensuring the honesty, integrity and financial stability of casino licensees. Part of this process is analyzing the economic impact of casino acquisitions such as the Eldorado / Caesars merger. As part of this process the Division has retained an economic expert to assist with the review of this merger.”

About the Caesars-Eldorado Merger Deal

Eldorado Resorts $17.3 billion acquisition of Caesars Entertainment is slated to become the world’s largest casino operator in terms of gaming assets. To acquire 51% of Caesars, Eldorado will pay $7.2 billion in cash and 77 million shares of stock, as well as taking on Caesars’ existing debt.

Upon regulatory approval, Caesars will merge with Eldorado subsidiary Colt Merger Sub Inc and a new, wholly owned Eldorado subsidiary will exist and operate under the Caesars name.

New Jersey Lotto Winners Now Have Choice to Remain Anonymous

Lottery Winner Holding Winning Powerball CheckLottery winners in the state of New Jersey will now have the choice to remain anonymous. This is following a new law that Governor Phil Murphy signed on Tuesday. This bill passed the state Senate and Assembly without a single dissenting vote earlier this month.

Under the new law, the state lottery commission must set rules and regulations that permit lottery players to keep their identities unknown to the public.

Murphy signed S-2267, which makes an exemption to the Open Public Records Act, which allows people who win hefty amounts of money while playing the New Jersey lottery to have the option to have their identity withheld.

The original resolution, which was signed into law in November of 1969, required winners of large amounts of money to reveal their identities to the public. This has come in the form of press conferences, OPRA requests, and press releases.

“To amend, repeal, or supplement any such rules and regulations from time to time as it deems necessary or desirable, and to establish by regulation that holders of winning tickets or shares may choose to remain anonymous indefinitely and that the identity of a holder choosing such option shall not be included under materials available to public inspection,” the amendment says.

New Jersey isn’t the first state to allow winners to opt for anonymity. They join a growing list of states who also permit privacy, which are Delaware, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina and Texas. Arizona and Virginia also passed their own privacy bills last year.

Some states allow players to claim prizes anonymously through trusts. While many states have laws that dictate a winner’s name, hometown, and prize amount become public information.

Avoiding the “Lottery Curse”

The New Jersey law’s sponsors say this bill targets a phenomenon that is often referred to as the “lottery curse.”

Democratic Senate President Steve Sweeney said in a statement that the curse often brings about harassment and threats. It usually occurs after winners’ identities are released to the public.

“The winners should have the option of remaining anonymous if they want to stay out of the limelight and away from unwanted attention,” Sweeney said.

Jason Kurland, a New York-based “lottery lawyer,” said that the best advice for new lottery winners is to keep your mouth shut and call a lawyer:

“Don’t advertise it,” Kurland said. “Don’t tell too many people you won. If your name’s out there, everyone comes out. Not only family you haven’t spoken to in a long time, but charities. Mostly good. But some are bogus.”

In 2018, the winner of what was then the eighth biggest jackpot in US history — a $560 million Powerball prize — successfully sued the New Hampshire Lottery for the right to remain anonymous.

The judge in the case said he was in no doubt that the New Hampshire woman, known only as Jane Doe, would be subject to “an alarming amount of harassment, solicitation, and other unwanted communications” should her name be revealed. Her right to privacy “outweighed the public’s interest in the disclosure of her name,” he ruled.

Opponents argue that requiring winners’ names to be available to the public promotes transparency within the industry. And this transparency is supposed to promote the perception that the lottery has integrity. The publicity is also good for business because it puts real faces and names to real winners. Apparent, the attention brought in by a jackpot winner usually results in a large spike in lottery sales for the upcoming draw.

Not Completely Anonymous

Even with the new law, winners of the New Jersey state lottery won’t be flying completely under the radar. Their identity will just be unavailable to the press and the public eye. State agencies will still be able to share their details internally, so they can remove things like outstanding child support payments, public assistance overpayments, and defaulted student loan payments before handing over the earnings.