A budget dispute between Governor Phil Murphy and the New Jersey legislature could cause serious issues for the New Jersey gambling industry.
As a result of the budget dispute, the state legislature could freeze customers online gambling accounts.
The dispute stems from Murphy and Senate President Stephen Sweeny, who have clashed on taxation issues. Murphy wants to implement a “millionaires tax” on earnings over $1m which the legislature is against.
The last day for the budget dispute to be resolved is 30 June, if it is not resolved, Murphy could shut down the New Jersey government.
According to a report from Legal Sports Report, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) sent an email to sports betting and online casino operators in regard to the state budget dispute.
Freezing gambling accounts
According to Legal Sports Report, the NJDGE email instructed operators to display a messaged outlining the situation on their sites.
Sports betting operators that serve the state under a casino license were required to display the message by 24 June, while those who operate under a racetrack license have until 30 June to display it.
The message reads: “Please be advised that beginning 11:59 PM on July 7th your Online Casino and Sports Wagering account could potentially be inaccessible if a State Budget is not passed. All account functions including wagering and fund withdrawals will be unavailable during this time.”
If the government does indeed shut down, operators who serve the state under a racetrack license may be forced to close a week earlier than land-based operators.
Operators in the state have asked for an extension beyond the 30 June deadline to post the message on their sites as there is still a lot of uncertainty on the budget situation.
What’s does this mean for sports betting in NJ?
If the issue isn’t resolved and the state does suspend player accounts, it will deal a great blow to the New Jersey sports betting market.
In just under a year, sportsbooks in the state have generated more $194m in revenue on nearly $3bn in wagers. Then there’s the state’s online casino market which has generated $1.2bn since launch in 2013.
A shutdown will force operators to suspend business and deal a significant blow to revenue. On top of that, it will also leave players unable to access their accounts, make withdrawals and leave customers without a legal online gambling service.
This also has the potential to damage the fragile relationship between consumers and operators, which could drive bettors to the illegal offshore gambling market. It also has the potential to damage the reputation of the NJDGE and other state regulators that play a role in New Jersey’s gambling industry.
BettingUS.com will continue to track the developments on this front so be sure to check back for the latest news.