By Oren Liebermann
ATLANTIC CITY, NJ (CBS) — The next big bet in Atlantic City won’t be on the casino floor. Instead of slot machines and table games, casinos are wagering the future is in online gambling.
“It’s a big deal as an added revenue stream for Atlantic City casinos,” says Israel Posner, a professor at The Richard Stockton College who focuses on gaming.
Players would register online with a casino, and after verify their age and location, then could play any game found in a casino. The state will get tax revenue, while Atlantic City hopes to get business.
“Once you’re involved on the internet, you get acquainted with the game. You get comfortable with the game, and at that point, if you see you can access bonuses to come to Atlantic City for a trip, for a vacation, I think you’re going to be very attracted to the opportunity,” Posner says.
An online gambling company is already nearing a deal to purchase the struggling Atlantic Club. Supporters say internet gambling will give the city a boost in the face of more competition.
“We believe that by having internet gaming, the next step is to come visit,” says Joe Kelly, President of the Greater Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce. “When people come visit, that’s our key to job creation.”
Not everyone supports online gambling. Visitors in Atlantic City say it could be too difficult to regulate, and not many people will leave the computer for a casino.
“You’re not going to, because you’re comfortable at home, and that promotes gambling addiction,” says Atlantic City visitor Pam Braxton.
Tony Rodio, President of the Casino Association of New Jersey, released a statement that says:
“The objectives for the continued stabilization, development and success of Atlantic City that Governor Christie and our legislature has facilitated over the past couple of years have taken a significant step forward today with the passage of Internet Gaming. We are grateful to Governor Christie and our legislature for their support and look forward to working with our regulators as we move towards the next step in the implementation of internet gaming operations in New Jersey.”
Officials say New Jersey Gov. Christie signed the bill on Tuesday, a few hours after the state legislature passed a revised bill.
The revised bill includes setting a 10-year trial period for online betting, at which time it will be evaluated. Players don’t have to be New Jersey residents, but must be in the state to gamble.
New Jersey is now the third state in the country to legalize online gambling.