In first year, online wagering falls short of N.J. expectations

Online gambling has not generated as much revenue for New Jersey as the Christie administration expected.

The administration anticipated a $160 million increase in casino tax revenue this fiscal year — with most of it coming from legalized Internet betting that began in November.

That increase is now projected to be just $34 million, said New Jersey state Treasurer Andrew Eristoff during a legislative budget hearing Wednesday.

“Despite a very promising start with almost 200,000 new patron accounts established through January, the introduction of online gaming was somewhat delayed and has only just begun to lift overall casino gaming activity,” he said.

But Eristoff said he remains bullish that Internet wagering revenue will continue to improve as more people set up accounts.

The administration’s new budget proposal projects a $54 million increase in state tax revenue from casinos in the next fiscal year that begins in July.

That sounds like a more realistic estimate, said Sen. Ray Lesniak who sponsored the legislation that allowed online gaming.

“I would even give it a bigger boost if Poker Stars qualifies for a license because they’re the biggest company out there that has not yet been granted a license,” said Lesniak, D-Union.

“This business is going to grow, it’s going to evolve, and we still have a possibility of hooking up with other states,” he said.

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