N.J. Internet gambling accounts top 91,000

New Jersey casinos added 20,000 Internet gambling accounts last week.
The state’s Gaming Enforcement Division said that 91,531 accounts had been created as of Sunday. The number of individual gamblers who have played so far has yet to be determined, though, as some users have created accounts with multiple gambling websites in New Jersey.
Internet gambling began with a five-day trial period on Nov. 21 and launched publicly on Nov. 25. Seven casinos are offering online gambling, the most recent being the Golden Nugget Atlantic City, which began on Saturday.
The others are the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa; the Tropicana Casino and Resort; Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino; the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort; Caesars Atlantic City and Bally’s Atlantic City.
Resorts Casino Hotel also has received approval to offer Internet gambling. But their online partner, PokerStars, has been suspended from offering Internet gambling in New Jersey for two years due to an indictment against its founder.
The gaming enforcement division said PokerStars can reapply for approval before then if its circumstances change enough to bring it into compliance with New Jersey gambling regulations.
Online betting marks the biggest expansion of gambling in New Jersey since the first Atlantic City casino opened in 1978. The state lets gamblers play any of the games offered in its 12 casinos including card games and slots, but online poker has proven especially popular in the early going.
New Jersey is the third state in the nation to offer Internet gambling, after Nevada and Delaware.
The state approved Internet gambling earlier this year as a way to generate new revenue for Atlantic City’s 12 casinos, who continue to struggle with increasing competition in neighboring states. Atlantic City’s casino revenue reached a peak of $5.2 billion in 2006, and is likely to fall below $3 billion this year.
It remains to be seen if the $200 million to $300 million that Wall Street analysts predict Internet gambling may bring in over its first year will be new business, or whether it will simply cannibalize walk-in business at the brick-and-mortar casinos.


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