New Jersey Lawmakers Mull iGaming Extension

New Jersey lawmakers are considering a measure to extend online gaming—slated to sunset next year under current law—another 10 years to 2033. And esports could be on the table as well.

A committee of the New Jersey Assembly met last week to consider extending legal internet gaming to 2033. Online gaming began in 2013, with a sunset date of 2023.

“I think it’s critical for the properties here, to keeping them open and to keeping those jobs open,” said Assemblyman Don Guardian (R-Atlantic), a co-sponsor and former Atlantic City mayor, according to the New Jersey Monitor.

Assemblywoman Clare Swift, also a sponsor of the bill believes it’s critical to get it passed.

“Over the past 10 years, online casinos have proven to be an integral part of gaming in our state,” she told WPG Radio. “New Jersey residents and visitors have benefitted from the convenience that internet gaming provides which has provided the revenue necessary for casinos to make new improvements to their brick-and-mortar properties. This industry is growing rapidly and by extending the authorization we are providing legal certainty that will allow for greater investments to take everything to the next level of performance.”

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Assemblyman Ralph Caputo added that internet gaming arguably saved the land-based industry in Atlantic City.

“The casino industry was subsiding,” he said of the state of the industry in 2013, just before four casinos closed. “It was collapsing at the time. It’s been very helpful in terms of keeping the lights on in Atlantic City. We can’t do without that.”

Last year, New Jersey’s casinos brought in nearly $1.4 billion from internet gaming, a 41 percent increase over the $970 million reported in 2020. That increase followed a stunning 101 percent rise in internet wager revenues spurred by pandemic shutdown orders in 2020, according to the Division of Gaming Enforcement.

Guardian is also bullish about possible wagering activity on esports, and both he and Swift have support it with legislation.

“Ask anyone under 40:: e-sports are the next frontier of gaming,” Guardian, who serves on the Tourism, Gaming and the Arts Committee, said. “E-sports conferences and tournaments across the world draw millions of fans and players each year and along with Stockton University’s E-Sports Innovation Center, Atlantic City should be the center of operations in the United States. Opening up this new industry means another revenue stream for casinos, more good- paying local jobs, and an untapped, younger market that will breathe new life into Atlantic County tourism.”