New Jersey plans skill-based gaming push to boost online revenue

New Jersey plans skill-based gaming push to boost online revenue

Friday, October 17, 2014 Totally Gaming

The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) is reportedly considering game developers’ proposals to conduct real-money gambling on skill-based games as part of an effort to boost the US state’s online gaming revenue.

After recording two consecutive months of growth, the state suffered a drop in online gaming revenue in September. The regulated New Jersey market was only able to generate $10.2m (€8m) in iGaming revenue last month, $300,000 less than in August.

In addition to revenue from online gaming falling, the DGE reported that total state gambling revenue dropped by 13% from $240.2m in August to $209.4m last month.

The state has been hit by a number of casino closures in recent months, with the Revel and Trump Plaza having shut down in September. The Showboat closed at the end of August while the Atlantic Club shut its doors in January.

Reports suggest that the Taj Mahal, which saw revenue drop by 23% in September, could follow if it does not receive major concessions from its union workers and aid from both local and state government.

In an effort to offset these widespread losses, DGE director David Rebuck told UK newspaper the Guardian that the state is now considering real-money skill-based gaming as a potential new source of revenue. He said the sector offers a number of opportunities that could help bolster the New Jersey market.

“More and more we’ve been watching the social gaming arena and hearing about the opportunities it presents,” Rebuck said. “We thought, ‘wait a minute: why aren’t these companies coming to us?’ We are ready, willing and able, under existing law, to deal with this. This is not theoretical any more. This is real.”

For developers to get involved with this initiative, they would have to form a partnership with one of New Jersey’s casinos in the same way that online gaming operators do. Players that want to access such skill-based services should also be located within New Jersey's state borders.

Although Rebuck said that the move could open up a new source of revenue for the state, Les Bernal, national director of Stop Predatory Gaming, has criticised the plans and suggested that the introduction of such gaming could create a new generation of problem gamblers.

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