The New Jersey gaming industry is in the midst of perhaps its most tumultuous days since the first casino opened its doors in 1978. Atlantic City casinos have collectively experienced seven consecutive years of declining revenue.
The decrease was brought on by the arrival of new casinos in neighboring states such as Pennsylvania and Maryland. Gamblers on the East Coast who had previously been regular customers in Atlantic City now have more options and visits to New Jersey have become less frequent as a result.
The effect has been nothing short of disastrous for Atlantic City casinos, as yet another one has announced its intention to close later this year. Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino will reportedly shut down on Sept. 16, which follows the Atlantic Club locking its doors in January and the impending closure of the Showboat Casino on Aug. 31.
Also likely to shut down is the Revel Casino, currently in bankruptcy court for the second time in two years and looking for a bailout from a well-to-do buyer. When 2014 began, a dozen casinos were operating on the boardwalk. That number may soon be reduced to eight.
A.C. Turns To Online Poker
New Jersey’s decreasing revenue problems led to the enactment of online poker and gambling legislation last year in hopes of offsetting some of those losses via regulated Internet wagering. While the funds taken in through the state’s igaming regime have not met initial expectations, the goal of added revenue has been accomplished and will likely get better in time through interstate partnership agreements.
While some may point to the fact that Atlantic City casinos are suspiciously falling like dominoes immediately following the regulation of online poker and gambling, there is absolutely no correlation and the casino closures are not tied in with New Jersey’s Internet gambling scheme. The anti-online gambling crowd led by the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling will likely state otherwise in coming days, but don’t believe a word of it.
The casinos have been struggling for years and while their demise may have been slightly accelerated by regulated Internet wagering, the real culprit is over-saturation of casinos on the East Coast. The loss of 1/3 of Atlantic City’s land-based gaming industry will allow the remaining New Jersey casinos to become stronger in terms of revenue, which will likely benefit the online poker and gambling sites as well.
The Return of Poker Stars
Keep in mind that PokerStars is in the process of receiving approval from state gaming regulators to operate within the Garden State. The sale of parent company Rational Group to Amaya Gaming will allow the online poker industry giant to grab a piece of the market. That is expected to provide a revenue boost to New Jersey, whose Internet gambling regime is still in its infancy at only eight months of operation.
Players at New Jersey online poker sites can rest assured that industry growth is on the way despite the casino closings. Contraction of land-based casinos was necessary due to supply being greater than demand. The same cannot be said regarding online poker and gambling, where the demand is great among U.S. online poker players throughout the fifty states who hope to one day legally compete with players across the nation, including New Jersey.