ATLANTIC CITY — When Gov. Chris Christie signed internet gaming legislation into law in February 2013, it was touted as another option that would make the resort’s gaming market more competitive.
Through October, internet gaming revenue has totaled $204.2 million, up 26.7 percent over last year. But while internet gaming has boosted casino and state tax revenues, it hasn’t led to more people coming to the resort or jobs in the resort, gaming experts said.
“It has been a positive for Atlantic City, providing some profitability,” said Steve Norton, who runs a consulting company, Norton Management LLC. “Online Gaming does little for job creation, constructing casino resorts, and nothing for state tourism.”
Since becoming legal in 2013, casinos have generated more than $681 million in revenue from internet gaming, while the state has been able to generate $89.8 million in tax revenue.
“Online gambling now accounts for some 10 percent of all casino revenue generated by Atlantic City casinos, which is a staggering total for such a young industry,” said Steve Ruddock, lead analyst for PlayNJ.com, an internet gambling advocacy group. “The bottom line is that legal online gambling has become an incredibly competitive market with many winners, and that has undoubtedly been a boom for New Jersey.”
The state’s online gaming market looks set to continue to grow in the coming years after Gov. Chris Christie announced that online players in the state will be able to play against people in Nevada and Delaware. Christie said pooling players will enhance annual revenue growth, attract new customers and create new opportunities for players and Internet gambling operators.
“Online gaming has been the proverbial rising tide for Atlantic City casinos,” Ruddock said. “Once struggling, Atlantic City casinos are now the healthiest they have been in years, and the legal online gambling market has played a critical role in that revival.”
Anthony Marino, an independent transportation analyst, said internet gaming has covered up for reduction in brick and mortar revenue. Marino said internet gaming accounted for 87 percent of the revenue increases during the third quarter of 2017.
“Online gaming provides a new source of revenue with minimal costs but has not apparently boosted visitor numbers which in turn may explain decreases in the other indicators of Atlantic City tourism,” Marino said