WHEN BRITONS think of New Jersey, their minds tend to drift to one of a few stereotypes: brash, drunk Italian-Americans (Jersey Shore); violent mafiosos (The Sopranos); or the long journey into Manhattan from its out-of-town airport (Newark).
Yesterday it added to that list, by becoming the most populous US state to allow online gambling – opening up opportunities for companies to tap into the multi-million dollar industry.
Since 2006, betting firms have been banned from knowingly accepting payments over the internet from gamblers in the country, forcing British firms like B.win.Party and 888 to withdraw from the US completely. Since then just two states – Nevada and Delaware – have relaxed the rules, albeit with heavy restrictions.
But now New Jersey has joined their ranks with others, including California (home to 38m Americans) expected to follow suit.
The potential market lying in wait for gaming firms is huge: New Jersey alone is expected to be worth the same as the entire UK market, and local tie-ups with casinos eager to turn internet enthusiasm into footfall are likely to be lucrative.
After seven years on the sidelines, the UK’s gambling firms are ready to take a seat at the table and start rolling the dice.
Investors would be wise to place their bets on the latest big thing to come out of New Jersey.