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By Steve Norton
CEO, Norton Management

Golden Nugget Poised to Make Internet Gaming History

My Comment:

Today's article indicates the growth of online gaming and online sports betting in Atlantic City far exceeds other states, even Nevada, and there is a good reason for it. New Jersey has only one area offering slot machines and table games, Atlantic City, which is less convenient to over 90% of NJ's population, than live gaming in Pennsylvania, New York and Delaware.

Online gaming has been beneficial to New Jersey, for several reasons. First, it allows the state to compete with illegal overseas gaming sites that pay no taxes, employee no US citizens, have little or no oversight, and may offer inferior odds. Second, it provides new tax revenues and some jobs for the operators for the online games.

But there are several serious disadvantages to having casino games and betting on sports available on smartphones and computers. First is the great likelihood that online gaming will cause a substantial increase in compulsive gambling, especially among lower income individuals.

Second is the potential competition with the NJ Lottery, where the state is trading a 1% or lower sports betting tax (on bets made), for the 30 to 40% now earned on various lottery games.

Third, the availability of betting from the secrecy of home increases the risk of minors using a parent’s credit card or bank info to play illegally. In Germany and the United Kingdom, this has become a serious problem, where 30% or more minors are betting illegally.

And finally, in the US, where we have introduced major casino resorts, riverboat casinos, and racinos, our online gaming and sports betting could put many of these operations, their tax contributions and their employees at risk of property closures.

Our destination casinos have been copied in many Asian countries but are very rare in Europe and the UK.

In my view, there are other ways we can compete with illegal overseas gaming sites and US bookmakers, by creating our own sports betting parlors, in communities where live gaming operations are inconveniently located to many state communities. These parlors would offer a far superior viewing experience for all sports and would provide more tax revenues, with food and beverage sales, and possibly slot machine play, than online gaming, while posing less of a risk of customers becoming compulsive gamblers and minors betting illegally. Additionally, these sports parlors would be restricted to adults only and should be owned and operated by AC's casino developers.