New Jersey’s online gambling market revenue rose by close to one-quarter in 2017 it was announced in figures released on Friday by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE). The figures show gambling sites generated over $20.75m in December, the tenth month in a row the market has surpassed $20m in revenue.
While December revenue was up approximately 13% from December 2017, it failed to beat the market’s impressive $21.7m crest last March. Total online revenue jumped 24.9% to $245.6m for the year. The Golden Nugget’s casino sites came out on top for December revenue, accounting for slightly under $6.1m.
It occupied the top spot throughout 2017, and like many other top New Jersey casino sites, showed no signs of slowing down. As the first New Jersey site to have live casino dealers, the company announced this week that it was to expand the number of choices available on its site.
Previously, gamblers would have to opt for blackjack, baccarat or roulette on The Golden Nugget site, but they will now also be able to play a live casino version of Casino Hold’em, a poker alternative where players take on the dealer as opposed to each other. The game is available Sunday to Saturday from 3pm to 3am..
Meanwhile, federal lawmakers from both Democratic and Republican parties in New Jersey are asking the U.S Justice Department to keep online gambling legal. In a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the lawmakers encouraged the department not to rescind its benchmark 2011 opinion, which stated that internet gambling is allowed under federal law.
According to Business Insider, the letter was signed by Democratic Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker. Republican representatives Frank LoBiondo, Leonard Lance and Tom MacArthur also signed alongside Democrats Albio Sires, Josh Gottheimer, Bill Pascrell Jr., Donald Payne Jr., and Bonnie Watson Coleman.
The New Jersey representatives sent the letter after Lindsey Graham (Republican Sen.) and Dianne Feinstein (Democratic Sen.) urged the DOJ to have Congress decide whether online gambling is permissible or not. Graham and Feinstein once again warned that the DOJ:
"could usher in the most fundamental change in gambling in our lifetimes by turning every smartphone, tablet and personal computer in our country into a casino available 24 hours a day, seven days a week."
The New Jersey representatives asserted that their state has proven online gambling can be conducted in a safe and responsible manner, and that to prohibit gambling further would be an outdated approach:
"Placing a blanket prohibition for online gambling would be an antiquated approach to a 21st-century issue, punishing states like New Jersey, which have invested in creating a safe and secure online gaming structure, while also permitting black market operators to put millions of Americans at risk.”
The Justice Department did not immediately respond when asked if it is considering changing its landmark 2011 opinion.
While the DOJ focuses on finding an amicable solution for both sides of the argument around online gambling in New Jersey, the legalisation of sports betting in the state remains a contentious issue. The current case at the US Supreme Court has the potential to make sports betting a reality in New Jersey in 2018, changing the USA’s betting landscape forever.
A planned refurbishment on the former Revel Casino Resort (now Ocean Resort Casino) includes plans for a state of the art sports book, as is MGM, who are building the Garden State’s first, at a predicted cost of $7 million. Clearly, New Jersey and a majority of the big names in gambling are ready for legalization.