Although presidential hopeful Donald Trump has been absent from Atlantic City for many years, his name has still glowed above the boardwalk. But this year, that neon light will go out forever.
In 1996, the Taj Mahal was purchased by Trump’s new publicly traded company, Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts. It continued to be the highest grossing casino in Atlantic City until the opening of The Borgata in 2003.
Then in 2014, Trump Entertainment Resorts filed for bankruptcy and announced its plans to close. At that time, about 1,000 employees of the resort signed a petition “to do everything possible” to keep the casino open, but it looked like despite their efforts the casino’s life was coming to an end.
Trump Entertainment Resorts approved the shutdown by December 20th, 2014, but then, just two days before the scheduled closure, UNITE HERE, its main union, reached a deal with Trump Entertainment Resorts and saved the property from going under. The same day, billionaire Carl Icahn committed $20 million in financing for the Taj Mahal.
The Taj Mahal never directly operated an online gambling website in New Jersey, although the operator did have a partnership with a separate online casino and online poker brand.
The Icahn era proves itself more of the same
Business continued as usual until February of 2015 when the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network settled an investigation of Trump Taj Mahal and fined the company $10 million for “significant and long-standing money laundering violations” which were described as “willful and repeated.”
As part of the agreement, the casino agreed to periodic external audits and admitted to multiple violations dating back to 1998.
In February of this year, Trump Entertainment exited bankruptcy and became a subsidiary of Icahn Enterprises. Although it kept the name “Trump Taj Mahal,” Donald Trump no longer held any ownership stake in the company.
Shortly after the takeover by Icahn Enterprises, the management of the casino was turned over to another Icahn affiliate, Tropicana Entertainment.
On August 3rd, 2016, Icahn announced that he could no longer support the casino which had cost him nearly $100 million in the past 18 months due to a crippling strike. It was announced that the Trump Taj Mahal would finally close its doors on October 10th, 2016.
“Mr. Trump made a tremendous amount of money in Atlantic City during its prime,” Hope Hicks, a spokeswoman for Trump’s presidential campaign, said, in an attempt to distance Trump from the casino’s failure. “He has not been involved for seven years, with many people giving him great credit for his timing and success.”
This shutdown will reduce the number of Atlantic City casinos to seven and 3,000 workers will join the ranks of the unemployed.
Though we are just two weeks out from the new year, there have already been many big wins in New Jersey. With only three states allowing regulated online poker play, there is currently a monopoly on the online poker scene. New Jersey is arguably doing the best in online in gaming revenue. Because of this, sites such as partypoker NJ, borgatapoker.com, WSOP.com NJ, and 888poker NJ are looking to get players excited right from the start by running multiple tournaments throughout the first weeks.
The biggest win came during the partypoker NJ/borgatapoker.com $50,000 guarantee event. During the event, 352 different players competed, with Eric Patrick winning first place to take home $12,686. The second place prize went to a New Jersey player with the screen name of “breadcrumb,” who received $8990.
During the WSOP.com/888poker NJJ Sunday $30,000 guarantee event, another $9391 went to a New Jersey player named “fresh33”. The second place prize went to Cody Cluff for $5478, and Charlie Zimmerman placed fourth for $2435.
Sites such as partypoker, borgatapoker, and 888poker are looking to get players excited about playing poker in the new year, and they are each pulling in some of the highest revenues for online poker in the country. To continue doing so many events are already lined up.
For example, on borgatapoker.com you can win your way into qualifiers for the upcoming live winter poker tournament in Atlantic City. Each day you can also participate in a $10,000 guarantee tournament, while on Sundays there is a $50,000 tournament with a buy-in of $215. On January 31, the last Sunday of the month, this prize will be doubled to a $100,000 guarantee tournament. The buy-in will still remain at only $215.
Top players take full advantage of these ongoing tournaments to give themselves a shot at good money on a day-to-day basis. Without a doubt there will be many more wins going down throughout the next months; so don’t miss your chance to win big with online poker in 2016. Even if you’re new to poker there is no better place to start learning then through a friendly online casino.
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An important vote taking place in New Jersey over the coming days will decide whether or not Casino expansion will be allowed outside the borders of Atlantic City. The only problem is that the senate and assembly both have separate plans for what the proposed terms should be.
According to the Senate’s version, two new casinos would be owned by existing Atlantic City casino operators and would send 50% of their initial earnings to Atlantic City to make up for projected losses. With the assembly’s plan, only one of the casinos would need to be owned by an existing casino operator and that one would only send 35% to Atlantic City.
Currently, both Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto are standing at an impasse. The head of the Meadowlands Regional Chamber of Commerce has urged both sides to come up with one unified plan that they can put on the ballot.
Jim Kirkos, the chamber’s president, also stated that “With the impasse of the current versions of the Senate and Assembly bills to expand casino gaming in NJ, the MRC is urging our legislators to find further compromise.”
This coming Thursday, the Senate plans to vote on the Atlantic City aid plan, some of which has already been approved by the assembly. One of the topics on which to be voted includes allowing the city’s casinos to make the aformentioned payments instead of paying taxes for the next 15 years. This would give the casinos a set amount to pay as they try and get back on their feet. It would also stop them from attempting to appeal their taxes, which some casinos have been doing over the past few years.
Another issue that would be covered is redirecting casino investment taxes to help pay Atlantic City’s total debt, as well as removing the Atlantic City Alliance, which has been marketing the resort around the country.
After going through the Senate, the bills will be sent to Gov. Chris Christie, who has already vetoed an earlier proposal. For the casino expansion plan to be passed, a consensus needs to be made on which proposal to go with before the initial meetings take place. Only then can it be included with the Atlantic City aid plan before being sent onto the Gov. Christie.
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New Jersey lawmakers are looking to expand casinos to northern New Jersey. Today all of New Jersey’s casinos are located within Atlantic City. However, this past year four casinos shut their doors, leaving only eight remaining open. The idea is to provide licenses for two new casinos, which would open at least 75 miles from Atlantic City. One of the proposed locations is at the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford. The second location is yet to be determined, but it is said that it will be somewhere in Jersey City.
According to state Senator Ray Lesniak, “Casino expansion will create jobs and generate economic growth for the entire state. This is an opportunity we have to capitalize on. Democrats and Republicans in the Legislature should work together on a plan that can go to the voters for approval on the next ballot in November of 2016.”
Right now there are various competing versions of the proposal in the Senate and Assembly. The main difference in these proposals revolves around who the license would be given to. The Senate bill would have both licenses given to existing Atlantic City casino operators while the version from the Assembly only calls for at least one.
Once a proposal is chosen it would be put before voters. They would decide whether or not it is time to amend the New Jersey Constitution to allow gambling outside of Atlantic City. For the vote to pass there must be at least three-fifths approval during the new session, which begins on January 12.
According to Deutsche Bank, casinos in the northern part of New Jersey could generate over $500 million in the course of a year.
Even with the four closures, current garden state casinos brought in over $500 million during the 2015 fiscal year. By making casinos available outside of Atlantic City, this number could easily double over the coming years. Online gambling is also on the rise, as November broke records and brought in $13.2 million compared to the $8.7 million during November of 2014.
If voters agree to allow casino expansion outside of Atlantic City, there are bound to be positive effects on the total revenue generated for the New Jersey government. The public will also see more dollars in their pocket as the impact of the changes start to become more apparent. Nearby states have also been expanding casino licenses, and New Jersey will certainly not be left behind.
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This past month, New Jersey online gaming revenue hit its highest ever amount at $13,222,543. These numbers are proof that the online gambling market is headed in the right direction. Over the next few months, PokerStars will be joining the online marketplace in New Jersey as well, and these numbers show that there is plenty of room for everybody.
The $13,222,543 collected in November was a 2.8% increase over October revenue and a whopping 51.2% increase from November 2014.
The five major casinos have each reported high online gambling revenues as well. Borgata/Party was at the top with $3,002,860, Tropicana/Virgin made $2,973,127, Golden Nugget/Betfair reported $2,200,820, Ceasars/Harrah’s/888, $1,872,383, and Resorts AC at the lowest still made over a million dollars with $1,215,832.
Online poker, still one of the most popular games, brought in nearly $2 million alone. Back in September, online poker was at its all-time low at $1,771,123. Now just two months later it has climbed by 4.3%, putting it in second place as the fastest growing online gambling market. BorgataPoker and PartyPoker NJ lead the market with $1,102,595 of online gambling income. WSOP.com and 888PokerNJ reported $854,918.
The total gaming revenue made by the state of New Jersey during November was $204.3 million, a solid 1% increase from last year’s $202.5 million. Many believe that this is because of the addition of online gambling, because without it, there would have been a 1.4% decrease from last year’s income. In total, the state made almost $16 million in taxes from all gambling income.
Year-over-year money lost on slots was down by 2.7%, table game wins increased by 1.9%, and total gaming wins were down by 7.1%.
This year, Borgata came in first with a total gaming revenue of $57,110,046 (a 2.3% increase year-over-year). Harrah’s placed second with $30,101,967 (unfortunately a 3% drop year-over-year). Caesars made $24,337,156 (5% down from last year). And the last big revenue generatingcasino was Tropicana at $22,584,789 (a 7.9% increase YTD).
Moving into 2016, the numbers look good for New Jersey. With PartyPoker on the verge of joining the states’ online gambling markets, there will be even more opportunities for online gamers in the coming years. With the online gaming industry generating healthy numbers in tax revenues for the state, New Jersey is setting a clear example of how working together with online gaming companies is definitely in the state’s best interest.
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Last month, House Bill 649 (HB 649) passed the Pennsylvania House of Representatives gaming oversight committee with a vote in favor of 18-8. At that point, many online gambling fans were excited because it seemed like the bill had a good chance of moving forward. Especially with the fact that the Pennsylvania budget is 150 days overdue, and everybody is trying to get a bill passed; the odds seemed good indeed. However, the vote, which was scheduled for December 8, was pushed back a day and ultimately it was decided to be postponed until next year.
Last Monday the Senate GOP approved a $30.8 billion spending plan for the state which included $350 million in extra funds for the school systems and a $1.2 billion tax increase. But this plan was rejected by the House Republicanswho then countered by introducing their own $30.3 billion spending bill.
The House Republicans strategy was to bring in that additional $120 million from online gambling revenue. This would be an annual amount in addition to a $5 million licensing fee per operator. When this online gambling bill was added as a part of the state’s budget efforts, it seemed like there was a good chance that it would pass. The vote easily passed the House of Representatives gaming oversight committee, and it seemed like it would simply slide by as a part of the official state budget. At the end of the day, though, this was not to be. The online gambling bill was pushed to next spring when there will be less stress from an overdue budget to cloud decisions.
The Pennsylvania state budget is still in disarray as many are against the Senate’s proposed package and its $350 million increase in public school spending. This is because it would be offset by the reduction of state and school pension payments by $170 million. Some believe that this is simply pushing the problem back until further down the road.
During a press release, Pennsylvania AFL-CIO Pres. Rick Bloomingdale said that “We are deeply disappointed that the State Senate passed a bill that, over time, will leave future public sector workers and school employees in poverty. This is a bad deal for Pennsylvania which will end up costing taxpayers more for an inferior pension that jeopardizes the retirement security of hundreds of thousands of workers.”
Even Secretary-Treasurer Frank Snyder said it just “kicks the can down the road.”
It is clear that people are becoming frustrated with the lack of agreement on a new state budget. Even so, the state no longer will consider the HB 649 online gambling budget as a solution. Instead, Pennsylvania will turn to the tried and true methods of tax increases and lower pension plans. The current proposed budget only has one flaw now; nobody knows where to come up with the money.
Appropriations Chairman Bill Adolph says, “There’s been a lot of talk in the Capitol regarding our framework, our lofty goals… But the toughest part of passing a budget in this framework is how to pay for it.”
Now if only there were some way to come up with another $100-$200 million extra dollars…
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The enthusiasm over the profits of internet gambling appears to be quickly dying off as expected revenues have fallen short of expectations. Legalization of online gambling in Las Vegas, Delaware, and now New Jersey came with the hopeful promise of a large payoff for the states and taxpayers. However, the fiscal balloon appears to be collapsing under the lack of interest and political skirmishing.
In October 2014, Atlantic City, New Jersey’s Tropicana Casino produced revenues of $2,228,556 and paid state taxes of $291,437. In October 2015, they reported $2,850,154 in profit, a slight difference of $621,598, and paid taxes of $427, 523. The Bogata, which also collected profits from online poker play, generated $3,239,955 in October 2014, providing $486,702 in taxes for the state, but only $3,498,988 in October 2015 with $525,431 in taxes. (3)
New Jersey, as the third and largest state to authorize online gambling, presented figures that hike tax revenues by $180 million in fiscal 2014. However, at the signing of Gov. Chris Christie’s budget in June 2014, the amount had already been modified to $160 million. The state actually took in only $9.3 million in revenue from online gambling as of May 2014. The smaller populated states of Nevada and Delaware also collected only unexciting profits from online gambling.
Delaware wagered on $7.5 million in additional tax revenue in fiscal year 2014, but inadequate gambling installations and investment startup costs derailed their plans. Internet gaming added no net contributions to the state budget that year. Nevada decided not to count on internet gambling monies for its 2014 budget. They did generate about $700,000 from interactive poker for tax revenue, with about $10.2 million in gaming wins from May 2013 through April of 2014.
The expectation that gamblers would flock to legal Internet gaming may have been completely unrealistic. The concept of legalized online play would not only seem unfamiliar, but also illegal. Casinos would take time to educate consumers, in addition to developing useful instruction and rules and regulations for such play. Convincing players that they were not doing something wrong would be a task spread over multiple years. The fact that each state: Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware, approached the internet gaming business in different ways has not initiated any joint operating rules. For example, in Nevada, the casinos take their cut from consumers off the top of their winnings, and they pay the state their percentage of the take.
- In Delaware, after expenses are paid, revenues for online slots are divided three ways: the state receives 43.5 percent, the horse racing industry receives 10 percent and the casinos receive 46.5 percent. For table games, the distribution is the same as for land-based casinos: casinos receive 66.1 percent, the state, 29.4 percent and the horse breeders, 4.5 percent.
- Nevada taxes Internet gaming up to 6.75 percent, the same tax rate it uses for other gross gaming revenue. New Jersey taxes Internet gambling at 15 percent, nearly double the 8 percent tax on gross gambling revenue at its casinos.
- New Jersey’s revenue estimates were unrealistic from the start, Grove said, because they relied on the most optimistic projections and counted on 12 months’ worth of revenue even though online gambling did not go live until late November, nearly halfway into the fiscal year. Grove said the state’s initial revenue estimates for online gambling were “driven far more by political need and budgetary magic math than by sober, rational analysis of the market.” (1)
Numerous problems have obstructed the legal online gambling market. Some of these issues have been blamed on the slow start of technology, computer glitches, and payment processing. Also startup costs, which include the designing of appropriate software and the installation of data servers to host the gambling.
- Geolocation technology (GPS) must be used in the state of New Jersey to verify that online gamblers are playing within state borders, in accordance with state laws. Many potential gamblers have hit barriers because their banks block their attempts to gamble online. A lot of the banks were not yet aware that gambling was legal in the state, while many credit card companies refused to participate altogether.
- Morgan Stanley published a report in March 2015 that determined about 60 percent of online gaming transactions in New Jersey were rejected. At least 50% did not make a second attempt. A random survey of possible players found that they have a strong distrust of the odds of winning online. In a physical casino setting, all the card games are played with an actual deck of cards and dealt by a human dealer right in front of the players’ eyes. One responder said this is the only way they play card games. (2)
- Some players stay away because of the number generators that use randomly drawn numbers to create virtual hands. They fear that the “house” will program the game to favor the dealer and give them an additional advantage. They prefer to watch the cards being dealt right in front of them. Currently, this is the way slot machines are programmed. They are set to payout at specific spin intervals, which is why the most serious of gamblers favor blackjack or poker tables over slots.
- New Jersey online casinos, because they are affiliated with physical casinos in Atlantic City, are held to the same standards and are regulated by the New Jersey Casino Control Commission, which ensures that all games are held to a standard level of fairness.
- Convenience is the complaint of some gamblers who fear it’s just too easy. Lack of travel to a casino makes it much too easy-going, and they might find themselves playing more out of habit than fun.
- The casino experience, which includes the sounds, sights, and drinks, are all part of the gambling atmosphere, creating a matchless experience that no website can duplicate.
Clearly, transitioning from physical to virtual has not gone as smoothly as the three states had predicted. There are still a number of issues that have to be addressed to satisfy state and consumer requirements before the expected profits will begin to pour in. However, enthusiasm has not lessened on the part of the groups betting that online gambling will eventual be a winner.
If you are confused about who wants online gambling and who doesn’t, this playbook will provide you with a quick reference guide on the major parties involved. Although it does not represent a complete list of everyone who is for or against internet gambling, I thought it might be useful to at least have a short list of characters with political, monetary, and/or social interests.
Sheldon G. Adelson (Billionaire casino magnate) – Seeks to ban all online betting. He is leading the fight to reverse the Justice Departments ruling in 2011 that cleared the road for internet gambling, and has successfully divided one of Washington’s most powerful interest groups as representatives in and out of college begin to take sides.
Senator Lindsey Graham (South Carolina) – has accepted tens of thousands of dollars in donations from Adelson and his family to introduce legislation drafted by an Adelson’s lobbyist.
The Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling – a new group bankrolled by Mr. Adelson that is wooing socially conservative lawmakers opposed to gambling, along with some Democrats who are worried about possible online gambling by minors. It also features a former New York governor, George E. Pataki, a Republican who presided over a sweeping expansion of gambling in that state, including online bets on horse racing.
Michael G. Oxley of Ohio – Republican former House member (lobbyist) – led efforts to outlaw online betting and accused companies selling such games of “gobbling up victims” in the United States.”
Mary Bono of California – Republican former House member
Jim Messina – President Obama’s former campaign manager
Haley Barbour – former governor of Mississippi and prominent Republican lobbyist who helped Republican “super PACs” raise millions of dollars in the effort to beat Mr. Obama in 2012.
Representative Jason Chaffetz – Republican (Utah)
Representative Tulsi Gabbard – Democrat (Hawaii)
Senator Kelly Ayotte – Republican (New Hampshire)
Senator Dianne Feinstein – Democrat (California)
Focus on the Family – Conservative Christian based organization
Concerned Women for America – Conservative Christian based organization
National Association of Evangelicals – Religious Organization
Southern Baptist Convention – Religious Organization
Governor Thomas Wolf – Democrat (Pennsylvania) on the
record as being opposed to any additional gambling expansion in his state, but he has been listed as open-minded on the subject. (As of October 15, 2015 a Wolf’s spokesman said that the first-term Democrat was also open to considering gambling proposals as a part of budgetary talks)
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid – Democrat (Nevada) – Is said to be working behind the scenes to create a national legalization of online gambling.
Representative Joe Barton – Republican (Texas) – introduced a bill in 2011 to nationally legalize online poker.
Governor Chris Christie – Republican (New Jersey) signed legislation in 2014 authorizing online gambling in his state.
Senator Dean Heller – Republican (Nevada)
Atlantic City Casinos – Resorts, Golden Nugget, Tropicana, Bogata, Caesars, Bally’s, Trump Plaza, the Show Boat, Harrah’s, and Trump Taj Mahal
The Poker Players Alliance – Internet Gaming Group that donates large sums of money to fight the banning of online gambling
John Pappas – Executive Director of the Pokers Players Alliance
Coalition for Consumer and Online Protection – Consumer Group that is heavily supported financially by Caesars Entertainment to fight the ban on online gambling
Ed Sutor – Chief Executive Officer of Dover Downs Hotel & Casino
Delaware Casinos – Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, Delaware Park, and Harrington Raceway & Casino
Governor Brian Sandoval – Republican – Chairman of Nevada Gaming Commission
Senator Kim L. Ward – Republican (Pennsylvania)
Representative John Payne – Republican (Pennsylvania) – introduced a bill (HB 649) that would legalize and regulate online gambling in Pennsylvania and a resolution (HR 140) urging Congress to reject the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA), Sheldon Adelson’s proposed federal online gambling ban
Speaker of the House Mike Turzai – Republican (Pennsylvania)
Representative Stephen Miskin – Republican (Pennsylvania)
Senator Tommy Tomlinson – Democrat (Pennsylvania)
Following a knock down, knock out battle, the state of New Jersey, like Delaware and Las Vegas before it, has dived head- first into online gambling. They’ve generated staggering profits even while the fight threatens to close it all down. In November 2013, six Atlantic City casinos launched online gambling websites, along with long-term public relation campaigns that included billboards, bus signs, television commercial,s and internet advertisements aimed at drawing both current and new players. Big name casinos like Caesars, Bally’s, Trump Plaza, Borgata, Tropicana, and Trump Taj Mahal are re-inventing themselves and their waning profits by offering their customers another option to play slots, pokers and other games online.
Historical Gambling in New Jersey
It is no wonder that the concept of gambling in New Jersey brings with the spirit of debate and battle. It has a gambling history which pre-dates the American Revolution. Games of chance were common in the state and used to help pay for the military during the French and Indian War and the American Revolution, in addition to helping in the construction of Queen’s College (now Rutgers University) and the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University). Gambling continued to be used as a funding source for the state until 1897, when residents voted on and approved a referendum which amended the state constitution and placed a ban on all gambling. It is because of this amendment that all new gambling in New Jersey requires voter approval.
The taste for gambling has never been far from the minds of the New Jersey residents who proved their interest by voting 81.5% in favor of creating the New Jersey Lottery in 1970 and the Pick It (later named the Pick 3) game which became the first legal lottery game in the United States where buyers picked their own numbers.
In 1974 the subject of gambling was once again presented to the voters. Once again they voted against legalizing gambling throughout the entire state, but did approve gambling only in Atlantic City. Resorts Atlantic City opened its door in 1978 and New Jersey became the second state in the Union to allow legalized gambling. Other casinos quickly followed, and Atlantic City revenues began to generate income for the local community and the entire state.
Governor Chris Christie signed into legislation the legalization of sports betting in 2012, although it forbade betting on college events played in New Jersey and out-of-state games involving New Jersey college teams. Both collegiate and professional athletic associations quickly filed a lawsuit to ban sports betting, forcing the state to revoke sport betting licenses. Christie has promised to appeal the case to the United States Supreme Court.
The Fight for Internet Gambling
Representative Raymond Lesniak sponsored a bill in January 2011 in the New Jersey Legislature to allow online gambling in New Jersey. The bill passed with the restriction that players must be over 21 years of age. Because the state constitution only allows casino gambling in Atlantic City, the legislation specified that the computer servers operating the online gambling websites must be located at licensed casinos in Atlantic City. In an effort to prevent likely federal regulation, Lesniak included in the bill authorization for the Casino Control Commission to create regulations that would ensure all bets are placed from inside New Jersey. Governor Chris Christie still vetoed the bill, stating “allowing customers to bet through any computer terminal left open the chance of commercial businesses such as nightclubs and cafes becoming gambling hubs around the state,” and “the bill further created a legal fiction that a bet placed anywhere in New Jersey counted as an Atlantic City bet.”
The United States Justice Department cleared the internet trail for New Jersey when they clarified that the Federal Wire Act only prohibited online sports betting, and not online casino games.
Christie’s concerns with online gambling were eventually resolved with the drafting of new legislation that prohibited businesses other than Atlantic City casinos from advertising online gambling, or allowing their facilities to be used for online gambling. On February 26, 2013, a revised bill permitting Internet gambling was overwhelmingly approved by the New Jersey Legislature, and then signed into law by Christie. The law legalized online casino gambling for a 10-year trial period, restricted the operation of the websites to Atlantic City’s eleven casinos, and imposed a 15% tax on online gambling revenue, instead of the 8% currently imposed on casinos.
The legislation required that you had to be at least 21 years old to gamble and could only play from a computer located in the state. Global positioning systems (GPS) would be used to verify a gambler’s location. While comps could be rewarded to gamblers, they had to be redeemed by visiting the casino.
In October 2014, New Jersey state regulators reported revenue of over $100 million since regulation began in November 2013.
New Jersey: The Battle Continues
In October 2015, a joint effort by conservative groups that included Focus on the Family, Concerned Women for America, and other Christian based organizations joined the congressional effort to ban online gambling. In their fight, they want to include states like New Jersey and Las Vegas that currently allow it. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), is backed by these groups and Las Vegas Sands chairman and chief executive officer Sheldon Adelson, and David Koch of Koch Energy, who have both donated 3.5 million dollars to friends of the bill, sponsored the Restore America’s Wire Act. This bill, if passed, would overturn the 2011 Justice Department ruling that gave states the right to offer Internet gambling to their residents
The Poker Players Alliance and Caesars Entertainment are two of the groups fighting the banning of online gambling. Poker Players Alliance spent $275,000, doubling their contribution from the previous year, while Caesars Entertainment supported the Coalition for Consumer and Online Protection with a hefty $1.9 million dollar contribution.
Clearly the battle over internet gambling in New Jersey is far from over. Ultimately, the decision may come down to who has the strongest lobbyists and spends the largest amount of dollars. In 2014, Internet gambling, virtually located in Atlantic City casinos, generated $120 million dollars for the state.
It has recently been discovered that a rule change that had been in the works in New Jersey for some time is finally set for approval in February 2016. This rule, one that would allow online gambling sites across New Jersey to hire celebrities to play for emotional purposes is something that online gambling sites have been looking forward to.
According to a report from Press of Atlantic City, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement will put a final improvement approval on it after a public comment period is completed.
After the rule change is active casinos will be able to endorse celebrities to play directly for them. This could be either through funding their account, allowing them to retain winnings or through direct payment methods.
Revenue from online poker last month was nearly 2.8% less than the previous year. It has brought in roughly $19.8 million compared to the $25.1 million in online poker revenue from the previous year.
By allowing casinos to offer more in their relationships with celebrity players for promotional purposes, state officials hope to see numbers rise in the coming year.
New Jersey understands that a lot needs to be done in order to receive the maximum amount of revenue from its gambling venues.
This fall, New Jersey also handed a license to PokerStars and Full Tilt. PokerStars is currently the world’s largest online poker site, and it also has the largest amount of sponsored pro players out of any other company. New Jersey wants to make sure that poker stars has all the resources necessary to legally provide for their professional players in whatever way they would like.
As we continue to move forward in the modern poker economy, it is important for states to adapt and change as needed. New Jersey is clearly willing to do this, and it would be good for other states to catch on and follow the trend. While each of these laws passed may seem meticulous at best, each new online gambling law brings us closer to the gambling freedom that many other countries already possess.
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