Governor Phil Murphy Signs Law Reauthorizing NJ iGaming through 2028

07/07/2023
News
Online Casino New Jersey

Highlights

  • The current law ends after ten years in November.
  • Lawmakers first considered a short, two-year extension.
  • Operators wanted an additional ten years of service.

Ten years after online gambling started in New Jersey, lawmakers have agreed to extend the legislation for continual services. Governor Phil Murphy signed the law just a few days ago, reauthorizing the industry through 2028. The time frame was not what New Jersey Casino operators wanted and it is unclear why those in charge decided to limit the industry to a shorter option than the initial legislation.

Two Years to Five Years

In 2013, then-Governor Chris Christie signed legislation that enacted iGaming in New Jersey. Operators had ten years to function before the law was reauthorized. The deadline was November 2023, and it took until the past few months for any movement to be made by way of legislation.

The actual reauthorization legislation was introduced in 2022. Lawmakers began reviewing it this year and decided that the industry would be renewed for only two instead of ten years. This caused a huge uproar among operators, and lawmakers returned to the drawing board.

Eventually, it was decided that the time frame would be extended to five years. The state Senate voted 37-0, and the Assembly agreed 76-2. The decision came in the final hours as the state completed the new $54.3 billion budget.

The extension is connected to online casino games and does not include sports betting services. Sports betting was not legalized until 2018 and do not expire this year. Both are considered separate industries.

Why the Shorter Time Frame?

When the news broke that lawmakers were considering a two-year time frame for the extension, online casino operators wasted no time giving their opinion. Proponents warned that if the time frame was not ten years, it might cause operators to avoid investing in the industry. 

iGaming is a big business in New Jersey, with slots, table games, video poker, and other titles contributing millions to the state each year. The industry has grown to massive proportions over the years, having helped Atlantic City casinos stay afloat during the COVID-19 shutdown.  

Over $100 million is earned monthly, and the industry shows no signs of slowing down. So, it doesn’t make sense that lawmakers would choose to extend the legislation for a shorter time frame. Of course, this caused speculation, and many wondered what was happening.

Many have considered that the issue might be connected to tax rates. Currently, online gambling operators pay 15%. This is a low amount compared to other states. Could lawmakers want to use the reauthorization of the industry next time to increase the percentage?

Lawmakers are not providing details on why the time frame is limited. The tax idea makes sense, but there is no concrete evidence that this is the case. We will not see the reauthorization of the industry again until 2028, so there is still time left to speculate and for lawmakers to provide insight into their decision-making.

Somewhat Relief for Operators

While five years is not ten, it is at least a relief to operators that the industry will be fully legalized for a few more years, not just two. Online casinos can continue investing in promotions, gaming options, and overall services to keep revenues rolling in.

The industry is big business, and operators have come to rely on this income. Tens of millions are generated per operator on a monthly basis as players continue to log in and enjoy what each provider has to offer.

Not only do the casinos rely on the funds, but so do software companies and other shareholders. Lawmakers should think long and hard when the time for renewal comes around again about how the state would be affected and those who rely on this industry for income.

Having started in 2005 as an online writer, Sadonna has focused on the online gambling industry, with a keen knowledge of various subjects. Sadonna has followed the growing US-based gambling industry for decades, covering all the legal changes in the nation as well as information on land-based and online casinos. She enjoys updating fellow gamblers on new games, casino bonuses, and additional information for premium gaming services. In her spare time, Sadonna loves spending time with her family and singing on Smule. Sadonna hopes to continue working in the online gambling industry and building quality articles for players to learn more about the US market.