Based on a new gaming bill proposed in New Jersey, all online poker operators will be required to display the branding of their land-based casino partners on their website and marketing.
The bill which was sponsored by State Assemblyman Ralph Caputo was passed unanimously 6-0 by the Assembly Tourism, Gaming and the Arts Committee, which he chairs. The bill will however need further ratification before it becomes a law.
The current law in New Jersey requires all online poker operators to partner with existing brick-and- mortar casinos in the state to be able to operate legally. Caputo hopes that this new law will provide a boost to the casinos in Atlantic City which have been struggling for quite sometime.
In a statement, Caputo said,
Amid all the new stories and headlines, it is easy to forget that Atlantic City still has plenty to offer as far as gambling, dining, shopping and entertainment.
We should use every opportunity available to promote the casinos still standing and remind potential customers that there is still plenty to see and do in Atlantic City.
Caputo has long been opposed to online gambling operators and had fought hard to prevent PokerStars, the biggest online poker website in the world from entering the New Jersey market. He has stated that online gambling is one of the main reasons brick and mortar casinos are struggling in Atlantic City as people don’t feel the need to come to the casinos anymore since they can play online from their homes.
Caputo has acknowledged the fact that Atlantic City’s casino industry has suffered due to market over-saturation and stiff competition from neighbouring states but believes that the decision to allow online gaming based on the premise that it would help the land-based casinos has been proven wrong.
Industry observers say that online operators would not have a problem with the bill becoming a law as the additional branding would only help them. It would make it possible for users to easily distinguish between licensed and unlicensed operators.
The move comes even as the decision to expand casinos in the state beyond Atlantic City is being put to vote in November. Experts are predicting that despite the revenue-sharing agreement in place, the development of two full-scale casinos will have a significant negative impact on the Atlantic City’s casino industry. In a recent report, Fitch Ratings has said that the new casinos are likely to increase the chances of four more casinos closing in Atlantic City.