Progressive Slots Network Links New Jersey and Nevada Casino Gambling
The states of Nevada and New Jersey launched the beginnings of a multi-state progressive jackpot network this week. The two states introduced of a cooperative progressive slots network, linking Las Vegas with Atlantic City slots.
The multi-state progressive slots network is part of a long-planned initiative to create larger jackpots. Interstate gambling has been slowed because such gaming is likely to bring federal oversight, but recent changes in enforcement allows such a network to exist. Bally is providing the machines for the linked network, which is called “Cash Connection”.
700 Machines Gaming Network
The network involves 100 slots machines spread over all 11 Atlantic City casinos, along with 600 slots spread throughout Las Vegas. This is the second multi-state slots system involving New Jersey’s gaming machines. Earlier this year, New Jersey and South Dakota signed a compact for a similar network. New Jersey’s two partnerships with other states are not linked, though.
Deal Required 2 Years of Negotiation
New Jersey’s Division of Gaming Enforcement has been working on this deal for nearly two years. DGE officials have said they are seeking other states with which they might partners, as a means of increasing the size of jackpots at their casinos.
Atlantic City is in the middle of an 8-year decline of gaming revenues. The bad economy hurt operations, but Atlantic City’s biggest longstanding problem is saturation of the market, as New York and Philadelphia have significantly added to their land-based gambling industries. With few visitors coming from those states–and players in North Jersey more likely to play out of state–Atlantic City has seen its revenues decline from $5.2 billion to $2.7 billion in the past eight years.
Increasing Slot Machine Jackpots
A big part of the expansion of gambling in those states come from gaming machines, especially at racetracks complexes called racinos. One way to draw in more customers to Atlantic City is to increase the size of jackpots. Such increases can only be sustained if the break-even point is lower, so that requires linked progressive slots networks. Partnering with Las Vegas casinos is the best way to build such a network.
Bailing Out Atlantic City
The slots network is the latest plan by New Jersey to boost the Atlantic City casino gaming industry. New Jersey lawmakers legalized online poker and casinos websites in 2013. From 2012 to 2014, the state also sought to legalize land-based sports betting, but the U.S. Supreme Court declined to see New Jersey’s case, so sports gambling is no longer an option.
The initiatives have not been successful to this point. In January, the Atlantic Club closed its doors, bringing the number of casinos in Atlantic City down to 11. In the next month, three more casinos will shut down operations: The Showboat, Trump Plaza, and Revel Casino. All three casinos are participating in the linked slots network, according to Division of Gaming Enforcement spokeswoman Kerry Langan. The 8 casinos which plan to continue operations into 2015 and beyond are also participating.
Interstate Online Gambling
The idea of linking operations with other U.S. states is the likely future of New Jersey online gambling. While the law does not allow for New Jersey to allow players from non-licensed states to play on their sites, the statutes do allow New Jersey to sign compacts with other states which have licensed online gambling. At present, those states are Delaware and Nevada, which themselves have an online poker compact.
Online poker is the type of gaming site which is most likely to benefit from an interstate gaming compact. Poker rooms need a lot of players, because tables of various game variants and bet limits need to be filled with real players. The larger the community, the better the game selection and the bigger the prizes in online tournaments. Online casinos are less dependent on big player communities, because so many of those games can be played in solitude.
Linked networks boost the size of progressive jackpots, which draws in more customers. Not only does a bigger slots jackpot increase free advertisement from players discussing such pots on the Internet, but they drive play once a gambler is inside the casino. While progressive jackpots tend to have the highest house edge among the slots, they also are consistently popular with slots gamblers. The chance at a life-altering jackpot is too much to pass up.
In that way, linked progressive slot machine networks are much like lottery jackpots. For that reason, states like Nevada and New Jersey are likely to pattern their multi-state slots networks after the multi-state lottery networks, such as wildly successful Mega Millions and Powerball.
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