Sports betting may help N.J. economy, but not displaced workers

 Displaced casino workers wait to enter a room to sign up for unemployment at the Atlantic City Convention Center in Atlantic City last week. (Mel Evans/AP photo)

Displaced casino workers wait to enter a room to sign up for unemployment at the Atlantic City Convention Center in Atlantic City last week. (Mel Evans/AP photo)

Internet wagering and sports betting could help increase revenues at Atlantic City casinos — but they might not do much to replace the jobs lost from recent casino closings.

 

 

The casino industry is becoming less labor intensive, explained David Schwartz, director of the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada Las Vegas.

“If you look at slot machines about 10, 15 years ago, they came up with the ticket in-ticket out, so you don’t have to put in coins, and that got rid of a lot of employees,” he said. “So we’re definitely moving toward a more tech-centered application of gambling.”

Internet wagering has not been the big revenue producer in New Jersey that supporters expected. However, Schwartz anticipates those returns will increase as people gamble more without going to a casino.

While sports betting can get gamblers to spend more at the casinos, he said it accounts for less than 2 percent of total casino revenue in Las Vegas.

“They spend a lot of money on other things and, also, if they happen to win money at the games, a lot of times they will gamble it on the casino games,” Schwartz said. “I think with that kind of attraction, a casino can definitely be more popular than one that doesn’t have sports betting.”

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