Cumberland Times-News

November 26, 2013

Game on

Will Md. be next for Internet gambling?

Cumberland Times-News

— Maryland was slow out of the gate to approve casino operations in the state. Now that New Jersey has become the third state in the nation to OK online betting via casinos, can Maryland Internet gaming be far behind?

New Jersey began allowing six casinos to conduct online gaming this week. Nevada and Delaware had previously entered into the online gaming business. The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement's gave the go-ahead for online wagers after more than four days of testing the technology involved in online betting and making sure gamblers are within New Jersey. All three states permit only residents within their state borders to make online wagers.

New Jersey casinos in Atlantic City have seen attendance drop sharpy because of casino operations in other states. New Jersey officials see the online gaming as a way to return casino revenues to their previous revenues, thus protecting the thousands of jobs the casino industry provides in Atlantic City.

Given the success of Maryland’s relatively new casinos — including Rocky Gap — expanding to online gaming may be a big boost to the state’s financial situation.

If Maryland lawmakers do decide to explore the possibility of online gaming, they should move quickly. While legislators debated casino gambling for several years, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Delaware all got the jump on Maryland and established casino operations long ago.

Maryland should not play catch-up if Internet gaming continues to grow in popularity.