Online gambling a winner for N.J.?

The New Jersey legislature has cleared the way for legal of online gambling within state borders. But will it bring the economic benefits backers hope? Well, it depends who you ask.

Atlantic City casinos would own the online gaming market, too. Because federal law bans Internet gambling between states, players would have to be in the state of New Jersey, which probably limits the new market to  residents.

Bill Thompson, Professor Emeritus at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas has a few words for this plan: “To me, it sounds crazy.”

Las Vegas legalized Internet gambling last week.

Potential losses

Regular Atlantic City casinos attract day-trippers from New York and Pennsylvania. Thompson says that since this new breed of gaming will not net revenue from outside the state’s borders, it will ultimately bring an economic loss for New Jersey. Outside groups who own the casinos will take their profits with them out of the state.

“The state of New Jersey will ipso facto have to be losing money,” said Thompson.  “All of the players are in New Jersey. Some of them lose money. Some of it leaves the state of New Jersey.”

While New Jerseyans lose money, the state will certainly receive taxes from any increase of gaming within the Garden State. Thompson says that probably looks attractive to politicians.

Online gaming certainly looks appealing to casinos. Professor John Kindt of the University of Illinois says gambling moguls can’t wait to get into people’s homes and offices.

“The whole strategy is to slowly open the door,” he says.

With New Jersey and Nevada, they’re just getting started.

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