Sports Betting in NJ equals Fake Math (Opinion)
Is sports betting really a win? Not exactly. Seems your trusty pols in Trenton need math lessons from our friends in the Nevada desert. Politicians are tripping over themselves to celebrate the Supreme Court decision to strike down a 25 year ban on Sports Betting. Numbers are being thrown around as to just how much money the new gaming will bring into the state coffers. Some estimates are as high as $10 billion. That's right, after initial reports were estimating nine billion, the folks at Monmouth Park reportedly estimated the possibility of even more.
That certainly got my attention. $9 or $10 billion would represent about a third of the budget and leave enough money for pensions, NJ Transit, road repair and still enough left over to line the pockets of the elite special interests. WIN!! Then reality set in and I did a little research. Turns out the actual projected revenue, for those of us that bothered to read a little and do some math, is closer to $20 million. This is way worse than the nonsense pushed by former Governor Christie on online gaming revenue projections back in 2014. Projected and built a budget around $160 million only to see about $9 million coming in in the first five months of the year. Whoops. Then there was the insult to our intelligence campaign of our current Governor Murphy proclaiming on $300 million in legal pot tax revenue. It only took a few weeks in office to revise that projection down to about $50 million. And since the legalization effort is not a guaranteed win, that number may in fact be zero.
Enter the savior of the Supreme Court! Billions on the way. Except not. Even if the taxes were raised to a 30 percent rate and NJ saw the level of betting as Las Vegas (which has effectively had a near monopoly until Monday's decision) the MAXIMUM tax revenue would be $75 million. I interviewed Eric Ramsey from PlayNJ on Chasing News after he wrote about the billion dollar discrepancy in what is being touted as a windfall and the reality of actual revenue.
Bill Spadea is on the air weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m., talkin’ Jersey, taking your calls at 1-800-283-1015. Tweet him @NJ1015 or @BillSpadea. The opinions expressed here are solely those of Bill Spadea.
More from New Jersey 101.5: