New Jersey has made it mandatory for online gambling providers to partner with land based casinos in order to obtain a gaming license in the garden state. State Assemblyman Ralph Caputo who is the chief sponsor of a new gaming bill, has included a clause where online gambling providers must clearly advertise the branding of their land based casino partnership on all marketing materials as well as their websites.
The bill was reviewed by the Assembly Tourism, Gaming and the Arts Committee last week and went through quickly after receiving a 6-0 vote. Caputo has been a fierce opponent of the online gambling industry and campaigned hard for New Jersey not to allow online gambling. The Assemblyman also went after PokerStars as he did not want the brand to be given an online gambling license based on its past history but in the end the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) approved PokerStars license and the brand is now the leading online provider in the state.
Atlantic City’s land based casino industry has declined significantly during the last decade and Caputo believes that a combination of legalizing the online gambling industry and competition from neighboring states have caused a steady decline in Atlantic City casino revenues.
In a statement, Caputo said “People are not going to Atlantic City because they’re betting on the Internet. So they’ve lost more patrons, more room occupancies. I think [online gambling] was really counterproductive. It was intended to help Atlantic City, and I don’t think it did. Because whatever they gained they lost on the other end.”
The collapse of Atlantic City’s casino industry has also brought the city to the brink of bankruptcy. New Jersey recently sanctioned a bailout package for the city to get its finances in order. Caputo believes that his new bill will help to promote and boost Atlantic City’s casinos. However he is also pushing for a new referendum that goes to vote in November that will allow two casinos to be built in North Jersey. Should the referendum be approved, the two new casinos would give Atlantic City $200 million for a limited period. Fitch Ratings recently released a report stating that the move could prove to be counter-productive as the two new casinos in North Jersey could end up hurting Atlantic City’s casinos.
Caputo has also indirectly favored online gambling sites in New Jersey by introducing the mandatory advertising of land based casinos as online gamblers in New Jersey will be able to easily distinguish between licensed and un-licensed operators in the state due to the extra push for visible branding.