What Can Help Online Gaming? [AUDIO]
New Jersey's online gambling industry experienced its first monthly revenue decline in April. It's not a big deal, according to experts, but they say online operators could benefit from a number of changes.
Online gambling started in November and had posted revenue increases each month this year until now. The state's online platforms took in $11.4 million in April, a drop of $500,000 from the month prior. However, March had one more day.
It was originally projected by the state that online gaming would bring in $1 billion over its first year. That estimate has been significantly reigned in since.
"I think we're very early in the game," said Dr. Israel Posner, executive director of the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality & Tourism at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.
According to Posner, the sites have all but completely solved the "geolocation" problem, which was kicking users off because they couldn't prove the log-in was coming from within New Jersey's borders. However, many users are still being turned off by the difficulty of depositing and withdrawing funds.
"As payment processing gets more sophisticated, I think you're going to see more gamblers playing because there will be simpler ways to fund your account and simpler ways to get money out of your account," he said. "Right now, we're in the prehistoric stage of both -- the input and the output."
A lack of consumer awareness could also be at play when explaining internet gambling's slow take-off. Roger Gros, publisher of Global Gaming Business Magazine, said New Jersey isn't fully utilizing an affiliate program that online gamblers use in Europe and other jurisdictions.
Through the program, websites offer information on and reviews of online casinos. If they successfully link someone from their page to an online betting site, they receive a monetary reward.
"That has not really been operating very well in New Jersey because the state requires that affiliates be licensed, and rightly so because there's a real sharing of revenue there," Gros said.
However, he referred to the program as the "voice of online gaming in other parts of the world."
"The lack of that in New Jersey is really telling at this point," he said.
Posner agreed consumer awareness has not "fully arrived" yet.
"For many years, online gambling was illegal," Posner noted.