New Jersey’s Gambling Chief Defends iGaming Amidst Surging Revenues
David Rebuck, the director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, defended the online casino market from detractors amidst the massive revenues contributed by the industry to the state in April 2020.
Online gaming revenues have surged since the mid-March closings of traditional land based casinos due to COVID-19. Only four states were able to benefit from legalized iGaming as so far only Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania have a legalized iGaming industry up and running. West Virginia and Michigan are next in line, where online games have already been approved, but have not yet reached the implementation stage.
Rebuck, speaking at Clarion Gaming’s ICE North America digital conference, advocated for the expansion of iGaming throughout the country.
Online Casino Revenues Lone Bright Star
April marked the first complete month the COVID-19 shutdowns that have plagued the gambling industry. Overall gaming revenue from April 2020 dropped 69% ($82.6 million) from April 2019 ($265.4 million); of these numbers, online casino games accounted for $79.9 million of the take in April 2020, a far cry from the $36.5 million they contributed in April 2019. The share of online poker also more than doubled this year, with a take of $5.1 million.
According to Rebuck, projections using the current numbers estimate that online gaming will contribute more than $1 billion in gross gaming revenue for New Jersey. While Rebuck admits that the full story is difficult to discern given the lack of competition for online casinos right now, he believes that the data shows many new customers who will continue to play online long after traditional casinos are re-opened.
New Jersey Shows The Way
It is now two years since the U.S Supreme Court struck down PASPA 1992 which was a federal law that outlawed sports betting outside Nevada. Since then, many states have tried to develop their own legal sports betting markets. However, many states are wary about online casino games, which has been in place in New Jersey since 2012-2013.
New Jersey is a key member of the ongoing fight in the US Court of Appeals, in which the Department of Justice’s interpretation of the 1961 Wire Act is being contested for its potential effects on online betting.
Rebuck believes that the New Jersey model can be replicated in other states. According to Rebuck, their online casino industry works with traditional casinos, rather than competes with them—benefiting the gambling industry as a whole. Additionally, Rebuck says that their online verification system is easily at par with any in-person verification system available at casinos today.