Online gambling: Nevada, N.J., Delaware and Zynga — they’re all in

Nevada did it last week, and New Jersey did it this week. We’re talking legalizing online gambling, a potential gold mine for revenue-hungry states and casinos and tech companies such as Zynga, which reportedly already has 15 million U.S.-based online poker players who might be interested in playing for real money.

Estimates vary, but New Jersey is expected to bring in hundreds of millions of dollars more in casino revenue because of its move, according to NJ.com.

The move toward gambling on the Internet in the United States, which NPR points out was until recently considered a crime, is raising some interesting issues. For example, the New Jersey bill limits Internet gambling to those who are physically present in the state, something that is supposedly technically possible. Does New Jersey get its own Internet? Should it change its nickname to the Walled Garden State? How will regulation work? And what about the addicted gamblers who will be able to give in to their weakness with just a few clicks?

Bloomberg Businessweek tries to answer some of those questions — the in-state gambling limitation will reportedly be solved with location-tracking technology — and also says Delaware intends to “go live” with online gambling by Sept. 30.

Back to Zynga. It has been an up-and-down couple of weeks for the San Francisco company. There was the online-gambling action. But it continues to try to cut costs, announcing this week that it is closing four offices and laying off about 30 employees, according to AllThingsD. Zynga announced last fall that it would be closing offices and shutting down games that weren’t doing so well.

Still, analysts are betting Internet gambling presents a “significant” opportunity for Zynga, according to MarketWatch. The company’s shares are down about 1 percent as of this post, but they had risen about 20 percent recently in the past week on the news about the Nevada and New Jersey laws. Zynga is also offering online gambling in the U.K.

 

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  • curmudgeon2000

    This so-called “location-tracking technology,” presumably by IP
    address, is quite unreliable. I access the Internet through a
    network that has many connections, and I never know which one
    will be used. My reported location ranges from tens of miles to
    hundreds of miles away from where I live, including out-of-state.
    It is never the community of my residence. And then there are
    proxy services and other means to mask one’s location.

    The point of trying to restrict New Jersey’s online gambling to
    people who are physically in New Jersey is lost on me. It
    appears to be a misguided attempt to impose antiquated thinking
    on a reality where it clearly doesn’t fit, and thus is doomed to
    eventual failure.

 
 
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