NJ senator opens up on state of sports and online gambling in New Jersey

TAGs: Atlantic City, Kirby Garlitos, monmouth park, New Jersey, Online Gambling, Ray Lesniak, sports betting

One year after online gambling was launched in New Jersey, regulators have only reported over $100 million in revenue, lower than the $1 billion revenue projection analysts initially made when online gambling was legalized.

NJ senator opens up on state of sports and online gambling in New JerseyThere have been multiple explanations as to why online gambling hasn’t had the traction in New Jersey many people anticipated, including one that Senator Ray Lesniak disclosed during a recent Skype video chat at the Mobile and Tablet Gambling Summit USA at Bally’s in Atlantic City. According to Lesniak, the lack of support from major credit cards has put the shackles on online gambling’s potential in New Jersey. “Don’t expect stellar results until the major credit card companies come on board,” Lesniak said.

Fitch Ratings Analyst Alex Bumazhny went deeper into the credit card companies’ rationale for not jumping on the online gambling train, telling the Press of Atlantic City that the hesitation from these companies comes from the lack of understanding on the legality of the industry. “I think it’s a legacy thought,” Bumazhny said. “I think it’s just a matter of educating the payment processors that it is indeed legal.”

Even Bumazhny admitted that Fitch Ratings was one of the most conservative analysts, but their initial projections of “$200 million to $300 million” for the first year were still way off of the strike zone. Right now, Fitch Ratings believes that online gambling will have “incremental, single-digit growth in the coming years”.

The discussion of online gambling in New Jersey was one of the more major talking points of Lesniak’s video chat. The senator also touched on a number of different topics, including the current status of the state’s fight to legalize sports betting. The senator remains confident that the state will win the case, even if U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp maintains his stance of siding with the sports leagues. The state is expected to appeal the decision to the Third Circuit where he believes that court will be on the state’s side.

In the event that the state does win the case, Lesniak isn’t expected to champion online sports betting or OTB betting. The objective, according to the senator, was to “get people at the racetrack (Monmouth Park) and at Atlantic City”.

The state’s legal case against the NFL, NBA, NHL, Major League Baseball, and the NCAA could open the possibility of soccer bets being the first to be offered in the state. Other sports like tennis, boxing, and auto racing could also be offered first and then followed by basketball, American football, hockey and baseball.

There’s still time for discussion on that matter because according to Lesniak, Monmouth Park is interested in getting the full gamut of sports bet offerings. Still, the senator is optimistic that soccer bets will be a big hit in New Jersey.

“Can you imagine Portugal playing Spain, what a big attraction that would be?”


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