During the current recession Atlantic City has been struggling. The upscale Revel resort and casino was forced to file for bankruptcy because of dwindling player numbers. Earlier in the year New Jersey legalized internet gambling. Since gambling in the state is limited to Atlantic City all gaming servers must be located in the city. Casinos hope that internet gambling will boost annual revenues. Some gaming experts believe that internet gambling could actually hurt Atlantic City casinos. If people can gamble from their own homes, they argue, why would they make an expensive trip to a casino?
New Jersey hopes internet gambling will help casinos fend off fierce competition from casinos in neighboring states. Officials are also hoping that online gaming will boost tax revenues and make Atlantic City a powerful economic engine again. Casinos say that online technology offers New Jersey a chance to be on the cutting edge of the gaming industry. Casinos are worried about whether gamblers will find internet gambling so appealing that they will decide to play at home rather than making the trip to Atlantic City.
Patrali Chatterjee, associate professor of marketing at Montclair State University, has studied the potential impact internet gambling would have on Atlantic City. Chatterjee told reporters “The extent to which this behavior online will translate to people saying, ‘I like playing at XYZ’s website, I have so many points for meals and drinks,’ it can be a positive. That’s the big challenge that casinos face: to what extent can they make the transition from bricks-and-mortar to online seamless?” To set up an online gaming account gamblers in New Jersey will have to visit a casino to register and set up an account.
Only casinos that have a New Jersey gaming license can offer internet gambling. On June 3rd New Jersey published proposed regulations for online gambling. The public has 30 days to comment. Participating casinos are expected to launch operations later in the year. The state plans to tax casinos 15% on internet gambling revenues. Governor Christie estimates that gambling will generate tax revenues of $435.8 million in 2014.