New Jersey Senate Committee passes online gambling bill

Senator Ray LesniakRecently yet another attempt was made in New Jersey by Senator Raymond Lesniak to have internet gambling regulated in the state. (See article: New Jersey: Renewed attempt to legalize online gaming). In the spring of 2011, the New Jersey Governor Chris Christie vetoed the original bill put forward by Senator Lesniak, which would have allowed casinos to offer online gaming. The governor vetoed the bill due to public concerns. If it had been passed New Jersey would have been the first state to offer online gaming. The bill had support from both Democrats and Republicans and had been approved by both houses of the legislature before it was vetoed.
This latest attempt by Senator Lesniak and other lawmakers, who have been seeking to have online gambling regulated for quite some time even before other states started to move on the matter of online gambling, could also be prevented from becoming law by the governor. The bill was approved recently by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee and will now be put to a vote by the full senate. There is still opposition to the bill in particular from the horse racing industry in New Jersey which fears that the legalising of online gambling will take revenue from horse racing. This problem was dealt with in the last re-working of the bill when it was agreed that an amount of 20 million dollars would be funded by the licensees to benefit the New Jersey Racing Committee.
Along with other lawmakers, Senator Lesniak worked on the terms of the bill that was rejected by the governor at their last attempt to regulate online gaming in New Jersey. The bill now states that online casinos will be run only in Atlantic City and not state wide as the governor had feared. Protection of those underage and also of vulnerable people is an integral part of the bill as passed recently by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. The governor is working on new laws to be introduced to allow sports betting in New Jersey in the near future. Sports betting has been permitted since 2011 as a result of a vote and it now seems that New Jersey will become the second state in the United States to offer sports books. Senator Lesniak’s wish is that it will also be among the first states to regulate online gambling.

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