MONEY Tourism

WATCH: You Can Gamble Almost Anywhere, So Atlantic City Casinos Fold

As more states allow gambling, former gaming destinations like Atlantic City are struggling to attract tourists.

TIME Transportation

Delaware Will Inspect State’s Major Bridges After I-495 Closure

The state will first inspect bridges of similar structural design to the one that was shut down on Monday after its support columns were shown to be tilting

Delaware’s transportation secretary ordered an immediate inspection of major bridges on Thursday, days after an I-495 bridge was shuttered because of tilting support columns.

DelDOT Secretary Shailen Bhatt said that his agency will begin by inspecting bridges of similar design for the same problem and then extend the review to every major bridge in the state, the Associated Press reports.

The state shut down the I-495 bridge on Monday and believe that a large mound of dirt dumped in the area under the bridge may have the shifted the ground and caused the columns to tilt. The agency will be looking to make sure that the area under the state’s bridges is clearly marked to avoid similar pilings of dirt.

“I want eyes on all those bridges immediately,” Bhatt told the AP. “We’ve literally got folks going out today.”

[AP]

TIME 2016 Election

Beau Biden, VP’s Son, Says He’ll Run for Delaware Governor

Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, son of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden attends the final session of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., on Sept. 6, 2012.
Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, son of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden attends the final session of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., on Sept. 6, 2012. Chris Keane—Reuters

The eldest son of Vice President Joe Biden, Beau, has announced plans to run for governor of Delaware in 2016, backtracking on running for a third term as the state's attorney general. The 45-year-old suffered a stroke in 2010 but was recently given a clean bill of health

Beau Biden, the eldest son of Vice President Joe Biden, said he will run for governor of Delaware in 2016, the Associated Press reports.

Biden said he won’t seek a third term as attorney general. Instead, he’ll make a go for the top job in the state his father represented in the U.S. Senate for more than three decades.

The 45-year-old attorney general suffered a stroke in 2010 and underwent surgery last year at a Texas cancer center, where doctors removed what they described as a small lesion. A doctor at the Texas hospital gave him “a clean bill of health” in November, the AP reports.

[AP]

TIME Internet

So Far, Online Gambling Revenues Have Been Pathetic

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Peter Dazeley—Getty Images

State budget makers and gaming interests have drastically, laughably overestimated the amount of money that would be generated with the advent of legalized online gambling, especially in New Jersey.

In March 2013, New Jersey officials forecast that online gambling would yield somewhere in the neighborhood of $180 million in tax revenues for the state during the first fiscal year Internet gaming was legal. But the estimates have been falling ever since—to $160 million when Christ Christie signed the state budget last summer, and down to just $34 million earlier this year, after a few months of legalized online gambling had passed. More recently, the state treasurer said that no more estimates on online gambling revenues would be made public, which seems wise considering how previous predictions have fared.

From the end of November, when legalized online gambling in New Jersey, through February 2014, a mere $4.2 million in tax revenues has been collected by the state, leading one legislative budget officer to now project an estimate of $12 million in revenues for the year, the Associated Press reported. The revised estimate for next year’s revenues was listed at $48 million. At that pace, it would take four or five years for the state to take in revenues equal to the amount it was supposed to collect in tax revenues during the first year of legal online gambling.

It’s not just state officials who seem mystified by the lackluster returns. Caesars Entertainment recently informed the New Jersey Star-Ledger that its online gaming operation was experiencing decent success in a few parts of the state—Jersey City, Toms River, Cherry Hill—but that it couldn’t explain why interest was strong in some areas and almost nonexistent in others.

New Jersey isn’t the only state that seems to have drastically overestimated online gambling’s potential as a budgetary savior. When Delaware’s gambling sites launched, there were often only a couple dozen players online at any moment, and almost immediately it became apparent that revenues wouldn’t come anywhere near to the first-year estimates. Toward the end of March, Morgan Stanley issued a note regarding longer term prospects for online gambling in the U.S. “We are lowering our estimates to better reflect the insights we have gained following the first few months of operations in New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware,” the note stated, lowering the anticipated gross online gambling spending for 2017 from $5 billion to $3.5 billion, and for 2020 from $9.3 billion to $8 billion.

Toward the end of 2011, mind you, Morgan Stanley was estimating an online gambling market of $14 billion annually, though that was based on broader legalization.

Casino companies give plenty of reasons why online gambling hasn’t taken off in New Jersey and other states, including the continued existence of unregulated (illegal) gambling site competitors, the fact that some banks aren’t allowing their credit cards to be used for placing bets online, and basic lack of awareness among consumers. Surely, some if not all of the factors holding online gambling back can be addressed in time.

That’s assuming legalized online gambling will be around for a while. Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corp., who obviously has no problem with people gambling in person because he runs casinos, has been waging a war against online gambling for months, at one point penning an op-ed calling Internet gaming “a societal train wreck waiting to happen.” With the backing of Adelson, U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) recently sponsored a bill that would effectively outlaw online gambling throughout the country.

A group supported by Adelson, the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling, has released a series of online ads warning about the risks posed to children and their families in a world where gambling is available on screens 24/7, and it’s not always possible to tell who is using an online account. As the National Journal pointed out, one of the ads shows how a kid with a smartphone can be playing Angry Birds one minute, then be addicted to blackjack the next:

“I was playing Angry Birds and then, you know, I just found it,” the teen narrates, as images of online blackjack and poker tables flash on screen. “It’s a lot cooler knowing that I’m playing a real game, not just, like, Candy Crush or Fruit Ninja.”

TIME Exercise

The Worst States for Exercise

Running
Getty Images

A new Gallup survey finds that people in Delaware and West Virginia are the least likeliest Americans to take exercising seriously. Their counterparts? Vermont and Hawaii, where 65 percent of their state populations get active at least three days a week

Residents of states like Delaware and West Virginia are the least likely in the nation to take exercising seriously, according to a new Gallup survey. Declared the worst state for exercise, only 46.5% of Delaware inhabitants are likely to exercise for 30 or more minutes three days a week or more. Compare that to Vermont lovers, 65.3% of whom report exercising a minimum of three days a week for 30 minutes each, followed by Hawaii-dwellers (62.2%). Some might say those states, which are recognized for their wealth of outdoor activities, have a natural advantage.

Here are the 10 worst states for exercise (% exercising 3+ days a week):

1. Delaware 46.5%
2. West Virginia 47.1%
3. Alabama 47.5%
4. New Jersey 47.7%
5. Rhode Island 48.2%
6. Tennessee 49.2%
7. New York 49.3%
8. Ohio 49.3%
9. Indiana 49.4%
10. South Carolina 49.7%

And these are the 10 best states for exercise (% exercising 3+ days a week):

1. Vermont 65.3%
2. Hawaii 62.2%
3. Montana 60.1%
4. Alaska 60.1%
5. Colorado 59.8%
6. Oregon 58.0%
7. Idaho 57.7%
8. New Mexico 57.4%
9. Nebraska 56.3%
10. North Dakota 56.0%

Vermont also tops the poll of states most likely to eat produce, while Oklahoma is the least likely to do a good job at eating greens.

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