NJ Racetracks Seek Internet Gaming Licenses

Last month, New Jersey residents voted overwhelmingly to reject a proposal that would have allowed casinos to be built in the northern part of the state. One of the venues that would have benefitted from a positive result would have been Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, but now that Atlantic City has had its casino monopoly reaffirmed, Meadowlands together with Monmouth Park in Oceanport is now seeking permission to offer online gambling via their facilities.
In October, Assemblyman Ronald Dancer introduced a bill that envisages racetracks partnering with Atlantic City casinos in order to offer iGaming via special internet cafes. Known as bill AB 4255, it has been argued that such legislation would allow both online gambling as well as horse racetracks revenues to increase, a point supported by Monmouth Park attorney Dennis Drazin, who explained:
“You already have people there betting on horse racing. We’d be giving casinos a chance to get a regular customer that is used to gaming.”
AB 4255 also suggests that there would be no need to hold a referendum on the issue as online casinos are already accessible throughout the state, an argument vehemently rejected by State Senator Jim Whelan who pointed to the outcome of October’s failed referendum, stating:
“We just had an election on this issue. I think the people of New Jersey spoke loud and clear.”
Other concerns also exist, too, including the possibility that racetracks could start offering computer-generated slot machines, thus eating into Atlantic City’s revenues. Furthermore, the opening of internet gambling lounges at racetracks could potentially negatively impact the number of people visiting Atlantic City, with some arguing that allowing iGambling has already had that effect.
Since online gambling legislation was passed in 2013, five of Atlantic City’s casinos have shut their operations. In the meantime, those venues still in business have seen their revenues stabilize, and so far this year online gambling revenues are currently 30% higher compared to the same period in 2015.

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