New Jersey DGE Is Courting Skill-Based Game Developers

New Jersey Seal

State seal of New Jersey

Tuesday’s announcement by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, publicizing that the DGE is now “approving skill-based games and is eager to receive skill-based game submissions for review,” has the potential to drastically alter the gaming industry, and could be another potential step towards Atlantic City’s eventual gaming resurgence.

With the recent contraction of land-based casinos, the iGaming expansion of 2013, talk of potential northern New Jersey casino expansion, the current push for legalized sports-betting, State Senator Raymond Lesniak’s desire to turn New Jersey into an international iGaming hub, and now this development, it’s safe to say, big things are currently afoot in New Jersey.

New Jersey dangles a tempting lure

In their pitch to skill-based game developers, the NJ DGE press release specifically mentions the popular social games Candy Crush and Words With Friends, and clearly stats they are looking for both online and land-based integration of these types of games.

The DGE also indicated they are already making progress on this front, stating they have “engaged in numerous discussions with gaming stakeholders and encouraged both Atlantic City’s casinos and its gaming equipment vendors to submit such new games,” as well as, “working with various vendors who are generating innovative and exciting products which have never been seen before on a casino floor.”

To facilitate this expansion, the DGE will create a new gaming category for skill-based casino games. Despite the novelty of the idea, they feel capable of completing the process with alacrity: ” if approved, [gaming products can be] put on the casino floor within 14 days,” the press release notes.

David Rebuck, the Director of the NJ DGE was more or less serenading game developers with a siren song: “Bring your innovative skill-based games to New Jersey and we will work with you to get them approved quickly,” Rebuck said in the press release.

Rebuck has good reason to court this industry.

Not only would these new games bolster the offering in New Jersey’s land-based casinos (as well as their online counterparts) but it would also bring a new, thriving, technology driven industry to the Garden State.

For game developers and small startups it would provide them not only with a base of operations that includes willing lawmakers and regulators, but also with a second source of potential revenue beyond monetizing social players, as they would now be able to lease their games to land-based and online casinos.

A multifaceted gaming hub

As noted in the opening, this is just one of many recent developments in New Jersey gaming.

In the wake of shrinking revenue numbers (New Jersey’s land-based gaming revenue is down some 50% from its peak, with revenue down for five consecutive years) as well as the widespread brick & mortar contraction Atlantic City casinos have suffered through this year, changes needed to be made.

The potential path forward for Atlantic City and New Jersey is starting to take shape; a path that if realized, would see New Jersey adopt a leadership role in gaming around the globe:

  1. In 2013 the state passed an online gaming expansion law and launched their online gaming industry in November of 2013.
  2. Since 2009 New Jersey State Senator Raymond Lesniak has been attempting to legalize sports-betting in the state.
  3. Lesniak has also introduced legislation that would allow foreign operators to setup shop in New Jersey and be licensed through the New Jersey Division of Gaming enforcement.
  4. There is a concerted push to expand land-based gaming beyond Atlantic City, to the Meadowlands and potentially Jersey City.
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