[toc]It was an interesting year for the gaming industry in New Jersey. But there could be even more in store for 2018.
Here’s a look at the big stories to watch in the new year.
Will there be NJ sports betting this year?
The biggest gaming story in the state remains about one issue: sports betting.
The US Supreme Court heard New Jersey’s appeal in its efforts to legalize sports gambling at the start of December. The most likely outcome appears to be a victory for the state of New Jersey in some fashion.
It’s not a lock that New Jersey will win, of course. But if it does, you might be able to bet on NFL games next season.
A decision is expected sometime in the first half of 2018. It could come as soon as March, or as late as June. If that decision comes down in favor of NJ, then casinos in Atlantic City and the state’s two racetracks will be able to offer sports wagering soon after.
Monmouth Park has said it could be ready as soon as two weeks after a verdict. Borgata, owned by MGM Resorts International, is also prepping for a world with legal sports betting. It’s not clear how quickly everyone else would move into the space, but nearly everyone who can will.
And sports betting might head online soon, as well. What a brave new world.
Will NJ gambling sites continue to grow?
It was a big year for NJ gambling sites, as the industry grew dramatically year over year. In 2017, months where the entire industry generates more than $20 million were the norm. For the year, revenue is up about 30 percent over 2016.
There is certainly some question of whether this trend could possibly continue in 2018. There’s reason to believe there will be a bit of a plateau in the new year, or at least scaled-back growth.
But who knows: The online casino industry in the state has surprised us before. Could more surprises be in store?
When will interstate player pooling for online poker begin?
New Jersey made some news in 2017 when it announced it was entering an interstate agreement to share online poker player pools with Nevada and Delaware.
That would be a boon to the NJ online poker market, which has struggled relative to online casinos’ success.
Still, it seems like New Jersey residents will be playing against players in other states sometime in 2018. The “when” is just an open question.
Do both Hard Rock and TEN reopen?
There could be two new casinos in AC in 2018. Well, not really “new,” as both existed previously.
But Hard Rock AC — formerly the Trump Taj Mahal — and TEN AC — aka Revel — both seem like favorites to reopen their doors sometime in 2018. Which one will reopen first is up for some debate.
While Hard Rock has taken many concrete steps towards renovating the Taj under its new name, the owner of Revel/TEN has been denying he actually sold it.
The fate of these two casinos — and their affect on AC — will be a major story for New Jersey.