Senator John McKeon Introduces Gambling Bill Package

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Senator John McKeon Introduces Gambling Bill Package
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Senator John McKeon Introduces Gambling Bill Package

TRENTON – Senator John McKeon introduced a package of bills intended to strengthen protections in the gaming industry for children and chronic gamblers and to increase tax revenue from the growing use of online gaming in New Jersey.

The first bill, S-3062, would prohibit casinos from using non-wagering casino games to encourage future gambling. With the recent boom in online gambling, it has become increasingly common for casinos to conduct games on mobile applications that provide non-monetary rewards but simulate the act of betting.

“Apps run by casinos that replicate the experience of playing real casino games take advantage of children to get them hooked at a young age so they can make monetary bets in the future,” said Senator McKeon (D- Essex/Passaic). “The National Council on Problem Gambling reports that children and teens are at a higher risk for gambling addiction than adults, and those who start gambling at a young age are more likely to develop a problem. We must protect our kids from these predatory practices and hold casinos accountable to prevent the next generation from falling victim to the devastating consequences of compulsive gambling.”

The second bill in the package, S-3063, works to protect people struggling with gambling addiction by permitting a civil liability against casinos and simulcast facilities for reckless indifference or intentional misconduct for failing to withhold gaming privileges from participants in the New Jersey Casino Self-Exclusion Program.

The New Jersey Casino Gambling Self-Exclusion Program allows individuals to voluntarily exclude themselves from gambling in all Atlantic City casinos and internet gaming activities.

“Under current law, casinos are free from repercussions even if they knowingly enable a person’s gambling addiction,” said Senator McKeon. “This measure will help individuals who have actively sought assistance in their recovery from gambling disorder and hold our casinos to a higher ethical standard.”

The third bill, S-3064, would increase the Internet casino gaming tax and the Internet sports wagering tax from 15 and 13 percent respectively to 30 percent.

In 2023, New Jersey casinos generated nearly $2 billion in online gambling revenue alone, representing a 15 percent increase from the previous year.

“Revenue from online gaming is exploding, and New Jersey is currently taxing this money at a much lower rate than nearby states,” said Senator McKeon. “Raising the tax on online gambling revenue will put us on par with our neighbors. Part of these additional funds will also be dedicated to prevention, education, and treatment programs for compulsive gamblers so that we can help more people in need of these important services.”

In nearby New York and Pennsylvania, online sports betting sites are taxed at 51 percent and 36 percent, respectively. Pennsylvania taxes Internet gaming that simulates electronic gaming devices at 54 percent. New York taxes Internet casino gaming differently based on a casino’s location, ranging anywhere from 30 percent to 37 percent.