Movement in New Jersey Online Gambling Legislation

Movement in New Jersey Online Gambling LegislationEarlier in December a proposed bill to permit online gambling where casinos in Atlantic City could host websites offering online poker and casino games was approved by the New Jersey State Assembly. The bill was approved by 48 votes in favour compared to 24 against with 4 abstentions. The next step after this was to put the bill before the State Senate for its approval and then the final step would be the governor, Chris Christie either vetoing the bill or approving it.
This approval would permit online gambling to players within New Jersey and also possibly inter state gambling if federal legislation were to allow such gambling in the future.If this bill, Bill A 2578 was passed the new legislation would make New Jersey the fourth state to legalise online gambling. Internet gambling legislation is in place in Nevada and Delaware and it was passed in the District of Colombia but then was retracted. If passed the proposed online gambling law would enable the twelve land based casinos in Atlantic city to earn possible revenue of about 100 million dollars every year from internet gambling. The state would also benefit greatly with tax income on this at ten per cent. The proposals also would save jobs in Atlantic city casinos where casino revenue has been hit by damage caused by Hurricane Sandy and also by a reduction in gambling due to the economic downturn. (See article: Atlantic City Casino Income Down in September)The bill which has been sponsored by Senator Ray Lesniak was passed on December 20 in the State Senate by 33 votes against 3. The bill is now with the governor and he has 45 days from the 20th of December to either veto it or pass it into law. Last year a similar bill, Bill S 490 was vetoed by Governor Christie at the very end of the time limit. The hope this time is that the governor will sign it into law by the end of 2012.


The main reasons the bill was not passed last year were the governor’s concerns that internet cafes would be set up everywhere in the state, whether the constitution would be breached if all gambling didn’t take place within Atlantic City and there was also concern over a horse racing financial matter. All of these concerns have been addressed in the new bill so it remains to be seen if the governor will approve the new proposals. If he does Senator Lesniak hopes to see the first online gambling sites set up in New Jersey within six months.

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