Perhaps what many people have predicted is about to become reality, and the Division of Gaming Enforcement in New Jersey has put out a message to games developers that if they can conjure up skill games that can be played for real money, then they’re ready to listen. There’s many of us that love a little Candy Crush action, or maybe you’re more of an Angry Birds person, and the reality is that soon, residents of the Garden State could be playing these types of social games for real money.
Obviously, New Jersey is thinking that real money social gaming could give a boost to the ailing land based casino industry and the low revenues that are being created by its online gaming venture, but as sure as night follows day, there are many people against this proposal. Players of these games can spend a whole lot of time on them, and there are concerns that the addictive nature of social games could become an issue if real money is involved, however the plan is to give it a shot.
David Rebuck the Director of the Division of Gaming Enforcement states that, “We are ready, willing and able, under existing law, to deal with this. This is not theoretical anymore, this is real.” It’s believed that the market for real money social games would be huge, and players could play for cash prizes, with the casino taking a small cut, a little like the rake in online poker. The big names in social gaming have clearly stated that, at the moment they want nothing to do with real money gaming, with both Zynga and King Digital Entertainment (the makers of Candy Crush Saga) both having no plans to enter that area.
CEO of Caesar’s Entertainment, Gary Loveman believes that younger gamers want something different to the slots and casino table games that are available, saying that, “Millennials typically find traditional slot machines boring because there’s little or no skill involved, they’d much rather play games where there’s an element of skill and the opportunity to socialise or compete with friends while doing so, it’s clear skill-based games are going to be a big part of the industry’s future.”
Opposition has already come from groups such as Stop Predatory Gambling with Les Bernal the National Director saying that, “State officials know the future of New Jersey’s casinos hinges on luring kids to develop a gambling habit, by taking games that thousands of young people already play and turning them into gambling games, the state is trying to create a new generation of gamblers to exploit.”
While it’s clear that New Jersey does have to do something to inject a lease of life into its gambling scene, both on and offline, there will be many twists and turns before the final word is had on real money social gambling in New Jersey.