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First month of Internet gaming in N.J. brings in $7.4M

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New Jersey's first full month of Internet gaming netted $7.4 million in winnings for the six casinos taking part in its rollout, according to data released Tuesday by regulators.

The total makes up a small slice of the $215 million in overall winnings by Atlantic City's casinos in December, which still fell 4 percent from the same month in 2012, even with the added option for in-state gamblers, the state Division of Gaming Enforcement said. For the year, overall gaming revenue fell 5.9 percent, to about $2.9 billion.

While the first month was focused on sign-ups and working out bugs in the new online platforms, it will take a huge uptick to match projections made by Gov. Chris Christie. He predicted in March that New Jersey will see $1.2 billion in online gaming revenue by next year, well above a report by analysts that predicted $200 to $300 million in revenue.

The DGE also said Tuesday that more than 125,000 online gaming accounts had been created through Dec. 31.

Online gaming went live in New Jersey in late November, nine months after state officials legalized the platform for players inside the state. Going back to the beginning of its "soft play" period on Nov. 21, winnings from Internet games totaled $8.4 million.

Under the law, the bets to have to originate within the city, so online gaming companies have flocked to the state to partner with Atlantic City casino operators. The move was aimed at helping the resort's ailing casino industry, as gaming revenue has plummeted since 2007 amid growing competition from surrounding states.

The lifeline did not save the Atlantic Club Casino Hotel, which closed its doors Monday under the weight of its financial woes.

All told, six casinos in the resort town have been approved to operate games over the Internet. Tuesday's report did not include a breakdown of each operator's winnings from online games.

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