Wall Street likes NJ's online gambling plan

New Jersey "projects that online gambling will add $180 million to tax revenues levied on casinos in fiscal 2014," boosting the total to $436 million, from just $235 million this year, writes Baye Larsen, senior analyst at Moody's Investors Service, in an article in today's Moody's Credit Outlook.

Gov. Chris Christie's rosy estimate for the state's 15% online-gambling tax to more than wipe out the impact of five straight years of falling revenues amid rising competition "may be optimistic," Larsen admits. But Moody's is cheering it as "a good bet" anyway since it will help offset, not just the spread of casinos across the country, but also the depression in Shore tourism following damage from storm Sandy.

But will Jersey's online bet-trimming edge persist much longer than its eroded casino advantage? Neighboring Delaware and distant Nevada have also legalized online wagers (Delaware expects $9 million in new online gambling revenues this year), and California and other states are pushing for online betting, too.

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