New Jersey: Renewed Attempt to Legalize Online Gaming

Senator Ray LesniakNew Jersey almost became the first American state to legalise online gaming but it lost out when in March 2011 the Governor Chris Christie vetoed an online gaming bill which had been passed by both houses of the New Jersey legislature. (See article: “New Jersey Rejects Proposed Law on Online Gaming”).
Recent changes to the 1961 Wire Act mean that the way is open for states to regulate online gaming and the New Jersey senator, Ray Lesniak, who proposed the 2011 bill, wishes to have a new bill approved and sent to the Governor before the present legislative session comes to an end on January 9th.Senator Ray Lesniak claimed that under federal law that states have the right to offer intra-state internet gaming. Since there has now been a US Department of Justice change of policy regarding online gaming and the federal government has indicated that intra-state online gaming does not break the law he wishes to take advantage of this and to quickly get the new bill approved by the state Senate and Assembly and on to the Governor’s desk.

Lesniak has stated to the Associated Press agency that “We can be the Silicon Valley of internet gaming. It’s the wave of the future. It’s going to come and we can be in the lead on it.”

The new intra-state online gambling bill proposed by Senator Ray Lesniak in response to Governor Chris Christie’s veto of the earlier bill contains many additional elements such as the granting of a certain amount per year from online gaming revenue to fund programmes for those addicted to gambling. It will be possible for players to limit both how much they wager or lose within a given time limit. They may also request to be excluded from gaming for a limited number of hours or days.

Since there is concern that the legalisation of online gaming could take income from the horse racing industry there is a condition that the licensees contribute to a fund to raise 20 million dollars over the first 3 years to be given the New Jersey Racing committee. There would also be an annual tax on internet wagering gross revenue of 10% paid to the Casino Revenue Fund.

Lesniak’s bill also includes fines and strict regulations for those who engage in online gaming. A permit for one year would be issued by the Division of Gaming Enforcement. An operator running an illegal online gaming set up could be fined 1000€ a day per player and a person advertising such an illegal operation could face a 10,000€ fine. Rules for players who sign up to play in an online casino include: being over 21 and a New Jersey resident, the player must also be physically located in New Jersey while engaging in online gaming.

There is still time for New Jersey to become the first American state to have a legal and regulated online gaming industry and this is the aim of Senator Ray Lesniak’s new bill which should reach the Governor Chris Christie’s office before the 9th of January.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *