The New Jersey State Assembly voted in approval yesterday to allow the state horse race tracks to begin offering online gaming options.
This week has seen a surprising turn of events in the New Jersey gaming industry. The state Assembly was set to vote on whether or not horse race tracks would be allowed to accept wagers online. The Assembly overwhelming voted in approval, 60 to 12. The race tracks have been trying for some time now to become involved in the casino gaming industry and it seems now they will have their chance.
A Little Backstory
The race tracks of the state have long tried to become involved in the casino gaming industry. The race tracks already offer wagering options for horse races but want something more. In the past, race track owners hoped that they could provide slot machines and table games, but their chances ended when a referendum to see casino gaming move out of Atlantic City failed to move forward. Operators were ready to partner with games distributors and wanted to provide the Northern portion of the state with casino games. However, voters overwhelming agreed that gaming should stay in Atlantic City.
After the race tracks lost their casino gaming option, efforts began again. A measure was created to allow the tracks to offer online gaming and now it seems this effort has paid off. The bill will allow venues that currently offer running or harness races in the state to enter into an agreement with a land based casino of Atlantic City or a casino’s online gaming affiliate, to begin offering internet café style gaming.
The horse race tracks will need to partner with a land based gaming venue or their online affiliate before a space can be carved out within their facility for an internet café. The race tracks are hoping that by offering online gambling, they will be able to provide their customers with more options and be involved in the casino gaming industry.
Boosting Revenues for Both Industries
The goal of the legislation is to improve the revenues of land based casinos in Atlantic City as well as the horse race tracks. In the past, internet cafes have been ruled illegal in the state. With this new legislation, an exception is made for the race tracks. The Senate must now consider the measure and provide their approval before the bill can be moved on further.
It is assumed that the measure will be approved by the Senate. The state seems very willing to move forward with their gaming industry as they continue to see success when updates are made. The state is also considering allowing online betting equipment to be located outside of Atlantic City. The goal of this separate legislation is to allow for international player pooling which will move the online gaming industry of the state to the next level.
On top of that, the state is also involved in a case with the United States Supreme Court where sports betting laws are being considered. SCOTUS has heard the case and a decision will be made by next year. All eyes are on this case as several states would like to get in on the sports betting industry, that is currently restricted to only Nevada when it comes to single sport wagering. The constitutionality of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act is being reviewed and if overturned, every state would be allowed to offer sports betting.
So, as you can see, New Jersey is quite busy setting up their gambling industry for success. It will be interesting to see if the internet café option for horse race tracks continues to move forward and how the additional legislation turns out for the state. It is most likely that New Jersey will continue to grow and expand their gaming industry.