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Expert: NJ Online Gambling Has a Future [AUDIO]

While online gambling in New Jersey has gotten off to a slow start, it could still have a bright future ahead according to one casino expert. 

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Initially the Christie administration estimated online gambling would bring in roughly $180 million in tax revenues to New Jersey in 204, but that estimate has since been lowered to $34 million.

Roger Gros, publisher of Global Gaming Business Magazine, said the initial projections were never realistic to begin with.

“Those projections were from the governor’s office and had some budget numbers he wanted to hit. He kind of made-up those numbers. No one in the investment community or in the online or land based gaming community thought we would ever reach those numbers.”

When the internet gambling rollout started, it was plagued with geo-location problems, where residents in the state were told they weren’t in New Jersey. While many of those issues have been hammered out, a convoluted banking system continues to be a problem.

“It takes a while for you to register because of all of these identity issues and then when you do register, you get your credit card turned down that you know is good and they don’t tell you why,” Gros said.

Gros said the problem stems from banks not wanting to get involved with internet gambling.  “There is an actual federal law that prohibits the process of any kind of dollars for online gaming. Now it doesn’t apply for states where it’s illegal, but you have to convince the banks of that.”

But Gros believes these are all fixable issues, and fundamentally the state has the potential to make online gambling profitable.  In fact, New Jersey is the only state in the country with full legal online gambling, and there is a large market still waiting to be tapped into.

“The people who are playing now are the people who played in the past on illegal sites and understand what online gaming is all about,” Gros said.

Customer service will be the most important aspect going forward.

“People frankly just don’t understand what’s going on there, and they kind of have to be taken by the hand and walked through it,” Gros said.

Nearly 250,000 online gambling accounts have been created in New Jersey since the state began Internet betting on Nov. 21. The 16 online gambling sites had posted a 28 percent gain in January, to $9.5 million. In February, the online sites won $10.3 million
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

 

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