Could A Nevada/New Jersey Online Gambling Compact Be In The Works?

By: Josh Bennett
Wed., August 21st, 2013

Those who follow the ebb and flow of U.S. gambling laws are no doubt aware that, in 2013, a few states have already made bold steps toward fully legalizing online gaming, with a number of others waiting in the wings. To date, Nevada is the only state that actually offers a functional, legal online gaming enterprise, with New Jersey’s poised to open in the fall, and Delaware’s soon after. Even with legalized online gambling still so new, however, there are already plans in motion to institute a full-on Nevada/New Jersey gaming compact.

A recent Reuters report highlights these plans, noting that MGM Resorts International is working alongside Nevada officials to discuss the creation of a new gaming market, created jointly with the State of New Jersey.

Jim Murren, who serves as the CEO of MGM Resorts International, tells Reuters that he thinks such a compact is likely to materialize as early as next year.

His comments come on the heels of past statements he has made, alluding to the fact that Nevada is simply too small of a state to offer a truly large and robust online gaming market—despite the built-in interest in gambling that comes from the presence of Las Vegas. It is the small size of Nevada that leads Murren to consider banding together with gaming enterprises in other states, with New Jersey standing out as the obvious first choice.

The Reuters article also quotes A.G. Burnett, who serves as chairman of the Nevada State Gaming Control Board—and who shares Murren’s optimism. He tells Reuters that Nevada is currently “striving to do what it can” when it comes to forming compacts with other states.

New Jersey, the article states, is currently working with its existing casinos to get the legalized online gambling initiative off the ground. MGM Resorts owns casinos in both of these two states.

Reuters also reports that MGM is experiencing a steady uptick in its stock values, largely stemming from the increased interest in Las Vegas-style gambling.

As for Murren, he is hopeful about the future of legalized online gambling in the U.S., noting that at least 40 out of 50 states are at some stage of debating this issue, with the most visible standing as New York, California, Illinois, and, of course, New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada.

It is predicted that Nevada alone will bring in as much as $250 million annually from its online gambling market.