New Jersey Online Casinos and Racetracks May Soon Offer More "Free Play" Bets

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Online casino operators offer customers lots of incentives to sign up for their services, and free play-style bets are a popular option to entice the unconverted onboard.

Now, new tax rules could make free play bets even more widespread, so let’s look at what has changed and why this matters for New Jersey’s gambling industry.

The changing state of play

In simple terms, the latest bill pushed through by Governor Phil Murphy means that the incentives which casinos and racetracks offer to customers to keep them playing are tax-deductible.

So, rather than needing to pay tax on the ‘free’ credits which are provided to new and returning players to encourage them to place bets, operators will instead be able to deduct these promotions from their tax bill.

Industry observers now expect that casinos across the state will leverage this new tax break to provide customers with even more bonuses and credits across eligible gambling activities.

Always use legal, reputable websites when gambling in New Jersey

Playing with fully licensed sites that offer online gambling in New Jersey has always been important, and with this latest law, it will be more vital than ever.

This comes down to how phony, fraudulent sites will likely attempt to piggyback on the boost to the popularity of online gambling that the availability of more free play bets brings with it.

Rather than risking identity theft or worse, gamblers are encouraged to make sure the casino service they use is legitimate.

The pandemic impact

Part of the reason that New Jersey’s casino operators have been calling for this particular tax break in recent months is that they have faced a tough time in the wake of the global pandemic.

Throughout 2020 and much of 2021, bricks and mortar gambling venues were operating at limited capacities, and so the vast majority of casino activity took place online during the height of the COVID-19 crisis.

As well as encouraging more people to visit land-based casinos and online gambling sites, the bill will mean that operators have a little more cash to play with, rather than having to give quite as much to the revenue service every quarter.

The caveats

It’s worth noting that the free play bets which are often found as an incentive are just one of the benefits that can help casinos to coax customers to sign up for an account and start gambling with their own money.

There are also deposit-matching schemes, in which the amount you add to your account is matched by the operator, up to a value of anywhere between $100 to $1,000 or more.

This all sounds good in principle, but there are usually some in-depth terms and conditions which govern both how incentives can be used, and what requirements players will need to meet to make withdrawals.

For example, you may find that free play bets are only eligible for use in combination with a specific sport, or a particular one-off event.

Likewise, there may be a minimum wagering requirement attached to whatever deposit matching scheme you use. This could leave you needing to bet quite a lot of cash before you can withdraw any.

So in short, while the news of the tax break for casinos is a good thing for the industry and for the economy of New Jersey, the incentives which operators offer on the back of it should still be checked carefully by anyone who is thinking about leveraging them. The more you know going in, the more responsibly you can enjoy gambling.


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