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How Online Gambling Is Faring in the 3 States Where It’s Legal?

Posted on November 06, 2014 by Dean Hybl
Atlantic City offers legal gambling opportunities.

Legalized online gambling in New Jersey has become a success as Atlantic City struggles.

Online gambling continues to exist within a murky, gray legal area that usually forces bettors to play through off-shore websites due to the restrictions and loopholes present in the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. While this option is popular and well-utilized, bettors in Delaware, New Jersey, and Nevada actually get to enjoy the experience of legal gaming in-person. Pioneers in state-run, online gambling, these three states have taken on the brave, new world of betting on the Internet in order to capture the dollars that were going to offshore sites. The experience is still new, but it seems to be working out satisfactorily — with a few hiccups and disappointments.

Ten more states are considering measures that would allow online gambling, but they are holding off for the moment while they gauge the success of the three states trying their luck. For online bettors everywhere, the fate of online betting rests almost entirely in the hands of Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware. Here’s a closer look at how legal, online gambling is going in each of these pioneering states.

New Jersey
New Jersey has long been acquainted with gambling, and in true Jersey fashion has made a wide range of casino games available to the online bettor, so long as he or she is within state lines and over the age of 21. Since gambling has been a part of New Jersey for over three decades, its foray into the online version can seem less than newsworthy, but with brick and mortar casinos in Atlantic City struggling, the move has seemed like a wise one. The state’s casinos have seen a considerable financial dip as neighboring states put up competing casinos, and offshore legal gambling sites attract more and more bettors.

In an attempt to shore up declining gambling revenue and the casinos behind most of that revenue, the new state-sanctioned online sites can only operate through the casinos. So, how’s it going? Since it started allowing and regulating betting on the Internet, New Jersey has generated roughly $11 million each month, and while that falls short of the projections of $1 billion that the state was banking on, it’s still helpful money for a cash-strapped state. Unfortunately, because New Jersey was expecting much higher revenues, the initial rollout has been largely deemed a failure.


Online gambling is finding a home in Las Vegas.

Online gambling is finding a home in Las Vegas.

In Nevada, online gambling is limited to poker and casino games, although you can also use a mobile device to bet on sports. In order to play legally, you need to be a resident of the state in which you are gambling, but you don’t actually have to be within the state to do so. Because play is basically restricted to poker, Nevada has only seen a small amount of money come through its virtual gambling doors since they opened, to the tune of roughly $124 million, or 1.1 percent of the state’s overall gambling take. By and large, however, the most fascinating part of online gambling in Nevada is that the state long known for its forays into sin joined forces with tiny Delaware when it launched its online endeavor.

Through an interstate online gambling compact, these two states have agreed to share poker liquidity where players are part of a shared pool. Still, revenue generated by players from Nevada stays in Nevada, and revenue generated by players from Delaware stays in Delaware. Additionally, the compact also allows other states to join in as well if they so choose in the future.

This small state has a population of less than 1 million people, and not enough of them are betting yet. The three online casinos in the state haven’t seen any benefit from legal online betting, and the state made far less than the projected $5 million during online gambling’s first year. Because the state of Delaware is entitled to the first $3.75 million made in Internet gambling during each fiscal year, the state’s online casinos haven’t seen a profit, and they aren’t likely to make any money this coming year either, which means that, ironically, keeping online casinos around could prove to be the biggest hurdle Delaware faces as it seeks to make money with online gambling.

Online gambling is back on U.S. shores in three states, and while not everything has gone as well as hoped, the potential for states and bettors to mutually benefit still seems promising. With another 10 states debating online gambling as a cure for budgetary woes, the next few years are important ones for any gambler who likes being online.

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