After eating turkey and watching NFL football this Thanksgiving, New Jersey residents will also likely be able to legally play online poker.
Garden State gaming regulators have stated that online gambling should be up and running by Nov. 26, just in time for Thanksgiving and what is typically for many Americans a long four-day holiday weekend. An exact launch date has not been officially announced, but gaming officials have targeted late November as when Atlantic City land-based casinos should be ready to flip on the virtual switch.
One of those casinos, the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, expects to be perhaps the first to bring their gaming offerings online. Under the umbrella of parent company Boyd Gaming, Borgata is aiming to be ahead of the pack and to position itself to Boyd president and CEO Keith Smith told the Press of Atlantic City.
Smith, as well as Governor Chris Christie and other New Jersey lawmakers, are banking on the state’s new online gambling legislation to provide a boost in revenue to Atlantic City casinos. Those casinos are still feeling the effects of Superstorm Sandy, the devastating hurricane that wreaked havoc on the New Jersey boardwalk last October.
Sandy was partly responsible for the casinos to collectively experience a sixth straight year of declining revenue in 2012. The drop in profits seems to have continued in 2013’s first quarter, as Borgata announced that earnings fell 6% from 2012 Q1 totals. Borgata still managed to take in more than its Atlantic City competitors.
Just how much online gambling will be worth in the Garden State has proven to be difficult to pinpoint. An estimate by the state treasurer lists a possible $1.2 billion in generated revenue in the first year of operation, which would bring roughly $180 million in taxes into state coffers. However, a study conducted by Pennsylvania-based Econsult Corporation came in with estimates much less. Econsult projected total gross revenue to be around $230 million, which is a far cry from the state treasurer’s $1.2 billion estimate.
Those estimates will be difficult to assess until more is known on how New Jersey fares in interstate compacts with the likes of Delaware and Nevada. As the only three states who have enacted forms of online gambling legislation, it would be expected that at least two or perhaps all three of them would join forces to increase player pools. And if other states that are contemplating online gambling legislation such as Illinois, Pennsylvania and California eventually come on board, revenue totals could possibly reach closer to that billion dollar estimate.
Borgata is run by Boyd Gaming and MGM Resorts International as a joint venture. The pair have not announced a partnership with an online gaming provider in New Jersey as of yet. However, they have teamed up with bwin.party digital entertainment to offer online poker in Nevada. It’s quite likely that a similar agreement will be brokered for New Jersey.
Speaking of Nevada, the Silver State’s online poker regime will likely get underway sometime this summer, according to 888 Holdings CEO Brian Mattingley. Delaware officials have projected a launch date of Sept. 30 for the First State’s online gambling scheme. And New Jersey will not be far behind in late November.