Tuesday April 23, 2013 : DEBATE CONTINUES ON NEW JERSEY TAX HARVEST FROM INTERNET GAMBLING
State estimates out of line with other independent studies.
The debate around how much tax New Jersey will reap from legalised online gambling in the state continued this week with the publication New Jersey.com publishing comparative figures from a number of studies.
The Christie administration's projection – based on estimates by the traditionally conservative Wells Fargo analysts – is that NJ online gambling will raise $180 million in state tax revenues in its first year, but that differs substantially from other professional studies, the publication observes.
New Jersey.com notes that industry research firm Gambling Data, estimated in a recent study that overall online gaming revenues in Year One would reach $261.9 million. At a 15 percent tax rate that would generate $39.3 million in money for the state.
And in late 2010, a study by Econsult Corp. commissioned by the Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association, estimated $210 million to $260 million in "short-run" revenues, working out to $31.5 million to $39 million in state tax revenues.
The Wells Fargo Securities report also suggested that initially revenues might not be quite as high as those anticipated later on, remarking: "…in the near term, we believe the New Jersey online market could generate between $650 million and $850 million," suggesting tax revenues of up to $127.5 million.
Entering the fray Monday, state Sen. Paul Sarlo commented: "I consider the $180 million number to be completely erroneous – it's not a number that has any credibility."
Treasury Department spokesman Bill Quinn acknowledged that there are "widely varying [revenue] estimates," adding that the fact that Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey are introducing the first legal online gambling sites might provide a "novelty factor" boost to each.