New Jersey betting on skill-based games for real-money gambling; huge untapped market seen

IndustriesAssociated Press

Those free games people download and play on their phones could be the next big thing in gambling.

New Jersey casino regulators say they are ready to approve gambling on social games that involve an element of skill.

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It's another way to help Atlantic City's struggling casino industry by getting a piece of what one game company CEO estimates could be an $8 billion to $10 billion a year market in the United States once it takes off.

For now, players would have to physically be in New Jersey, just like for Internet gambling.

The social games could be bet on at a casino, over the Internet or on a hand-held device.

Some worry that the addictive nature of the games could increase the number of people with gambling problems.