ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (CBS) — This week’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court to legalize sports betting gave New Jersey casinos new hope for their long-term success.
“Not everybody wants to play blackjack or slots machines, especially the millennial, the customer we’re trying to develop. They play sports and they’re not afraid to bet on games,” says Steve Callender, general manager of the Tropicana.
With sports bars to watch games on site and established online gambling platforms, the Tropicana and fellow Atlantic City casinos see sports betting as an easy add-on to what they currently offer.
“Whether they are sitting in a sports bar or sitting at the blackjack table they can bet in the middle of the game and there’s a lot of that going on now so we’ll be prepared for all that,” says Callender.
In a statement released Monday, Mark Frissora the CEO of Caesar’s Entertainment said, ”we expect to be able to provide safe, exciting sports wagering experiences to consumers across the country, as we do today in Nevada.”
MGM Resorts International, which operates the Borgata, also released a statement saying, “We are at the table and working closely with New Jersey legislators to authorize a regulated sports wagering marketplace. Once established, we are committed to being the market leader in sports wagering, utilizing our decades of experience in Nevada.”
Four years ago New Jersey got a legal leg up on the other states for sports betting by repealing regulations. But there is another side to adding more gambling.
According to research by Rutgers University, the Garden State already has 3-4 times the national average of people addicted to gambling.
Neva Pryor from the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey says even while it was illegal, sports betting addiction made up about 10 percent of the people who call 1-800-GAMBLER looking for help.
She sees that number only going up once it’s legal.
“Everybody wants to go to the Super Bowl games or March Madness and it’s crazy and everybody’s caught up,” explains Pryor.
So as gaming officials and casinos make final plans to regulate and tax sports betting, she hopes more resources will go to helping a new wave of problem gamblers.
“We hope that they will see the need for prevention service, public awareness and for treatment,” says Pryor.