Steve Norton believes we need to rethink online gambling and sports betting. We tend to agree with Steve.
Norton: New Jersey was right to legalize Sports Betting, but I think it was a mistake to allow it online; joining casino games, which I also think was a mistake.
With casino gaming only in Atlantic City, I can understand why the State of NJ is trying to recapture some of $3 billion in casino win, lost when PA and NY added gaming.
But there was another way to recapture at least a $ billion in win: by approving a slot or full casino at the Meadowlands; which would also have reinstated at least $200 million annually to NJ senior and disabled programs. It would also generate another $200 million to programs benefiting Atlantic City.
This would have been possible, because Jeff Gural, track owner, was agreeable to pay the same slot tax as Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, that referendum had the same language as the failed one in 1974, that would have allowed any county to have a casino. The referendum that legalized casinos in 1976 passed, because it only allowed gaming in Atlantic City.
A Meadowlands casino would have recaptured most of the lost North Jersey casino play, but now eastern PA casinos, provide a more convenient option.
Also benefiting, NJ tax collections, a Meadowlands casino would have also offered a closer gaming option to residents, tourists, business travelers and convention attendees, from Manhattan, and its 100 thousand hotel rooms, as well as residents on Staten Island and many NY counties, north of NJ.
Unfortunately NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard), was even more soundly defeated than the 1974 results, although the residents of East Rutherford and Essex County has approved a casino, at the Meadowlands, and already handle excess traffic, as home of the Sports Complex, Met Life Stadium, the new Entertainment Mall, and the annual home of the New Jersey Fair. They have superior highway access from I-95, US 3, and rail service, all within 15 minutes from midtown Manhattan.
David Cordish, Chairman of the Cordish Company, owner of Maryland Live Casinos; was correct: commercial casinos would be better off without having to compete with online gaming, and online sports betting.
If states insist on offering sports betting on a smart phone or computer, perhaps they could limit play to game outcomes only. Leave in-game and proposition bets to commercial gaming establishments that can offer a superior sports viewing experience, along with many dining, entertainment, gaming and overnight options, that all provide more tax revenue than online sports betting.