Are NJ lawmakers changing their mind about online casinos?

Atlantic City NJ beach at night
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New Jersey online casinos are often credited with saving Atlantic City. The framework for online gambling in the Garden State is often held up by the industry as the gold standard of what good regulations should be.

Yet, state lawmakers are hesitating to extend the industry for an additional ten years.

The original legislation that allowed for online caino sites in the state in 2013 is set to expire in November of this year. As proposed, A2190, wanted to extend that date out to 2033.

However, in a Budget Committee meeting Tuesday, the group amended the bill, reducing that extension to a mere two years, expiring in 2025.

No one spoke about the reasons behind the choice, but Politico (paywall) reports that the Assembly could settle on a middle ground of five years. The committee met again on Wednesday, however, the bill was not on the initial schedule of what the committee planned to cover.

“Some felt that 10 years was too long and five years was the right amount,” Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald told the publication.

At a time when the industry is clamoring for more states to legalize and regulate online casinos, the news could be the first sign of the tough road ahead. However, since lawmakers have not offered much in terms of the rationale behind the shortened timeline, it is unclear exactly why they are choosing this path.

Since first launching ten years ago, the New Jersey iGaming industry has brought in more than $6 billion in revenue. Not all of that money goes back to the state’s casinos, but the revenue stream helped Atlantic City both at launch and during the period of COVID-19 closures.

When online casinos first launched in the state, the Atlantic City Boardwalk was in a time of consolidation, with Showboat Atlantic City, Trump Plaza, and the Atlantic Club all closing in 2014. Since then, the area has turned itself around, opened new, successful properties like Hard Rock and Ocean Casino Resort, and revenues are the highest they have been in 15 years when you factor in money from sports betting and online gambling.