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17K Bet Online in NJ During Test Run

New Jersey gambling regulators say about 17,000 people bet online during a five-day test of Internet gambling before it expanded statewide this week.

Online Gambling
Bruno Vincent, Getty Images

David Rebuck, director of the state Division of Gaming Enforcement, said that’s how many people had placed bets online from last Thursday to this past Monday. He allowed six Atlantic City casinos to take bets from anywhere in the state beginning Monday afternoon.

He said during the test period, the state added over 3,000 new users each day.

“It looks like people are keen to play,” said Anna Sainsbury, CEO of GeoComply, which said it provides geolocation technology to many of the six Atlantic City casinos currently offering online betting. The technology verifies that a person is within New Jersey’s borders before being allowed to gamble, which is one of the law’s key requirements.

“I think the launch of I-gaming in New jersey has been a huge success,” she said.

In addition to people from more than half the states in America illegally trying to log on to New Jersey Internet gambling websites, technology has detected users in Portugal, Ghana, India and Canada trying to do likewise.

Statistics on how many people have gambled online in New Jersey since Monday are not yet available. Individual casinos would not provide them, saying they are among the most closely guarded proprietary information of the fledgling online gambling industry.

Wall Street ratings agencies say Internet gambling in New Jersey should bring in between $200 million to $500 million in its first year — far below the $1.2 billion Gov. Chris Christie’s administration is expecting.

Moody’s Investors Service pegged first-year Internet gambling revenue at $200 million to $500 million, while Fitch Ratings offered a more modest forecast of $200 million to $300 million the first year. A Christie spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

Rebuck also said his staff continues to work with the Golden Nugget Atlantic City, which decided it was not ready to begin unlimited Internet gambling with the other six approved casinos on Monday. The director said he expects the casino to resolve its issues sometime next week.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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