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New Jersey Finally Has Regulated Online Gambling

By: Adam Baker, Thursday February 28th 2013
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New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed the amended online gambling bill into law on Tuesday February 26. This makes the Garden State the third state in the U.S. to license and regulate the online gambling after Nevada and Delaware. Only 19 days ago Christie had conditionally vetoed the bill earlier passed by the New Jersey Senate and House. He wanted the tax rate increased from 10% to 15% of gross gaming revenue and a 10-year sunset period. The amended bill passed 68-5 in the Assembly and 34-1 in the Senate on February 26 and in less than an hour later Christie signed the bill into law.

Christie said, “This was a critical decision, and one that I did not make lightly.” Christie stressed that he had insisted on including the proper regulatory framework and safeguards in the bill and was therefore confident that New Jersey is offering a responsible yet exciting option to gambling. He added that the new law would make Atlantic City more competitive and bring financial benefits to the state as a whole. By offering online gambling products the struggling casinos could attract new gamblers through comps, like free hotel rooms, show tickets, meals or other freebies, which would be earned from online play. When players visited the land casinos to personally redeem these comps they would possibly be enticed to spend more money there.

Though the law is now there, it will not take effect until the state Division of Gaming Enforcement sets a start date. This could take from three to nine months. Casino executives have stated that it could be six months to a year before the online gambling gets functional. Existing casino operators will be allowed to offer for real money online gambling any game that can currently be played at Atlantic City’s 12 casinos. Gamblers would have to set up online accounts with a particular casino. It is expected that the rules would require gamblers to appear in person at a casino to open their accounts after providing verification for age, identity and other personal information. They will be encouraged to set daily limits on their play. The online casino players will be subject to the same per-hand limits as the land casino gamblers.

The enactment of the New Jersey online gambling law was hailed by the industry representatives and casino operators. Joe Brennan Jr., director of IMEGA said that a new industry is ready to take off. He added, “It took a little longer than we expected, but in the end, it was done right, and now it’s time for Atlantic City to take this and run with it.” John Pappas, executive director of the Poker Players Alliance said, “New Jersey has gone all in.” Citing the advantages to all concerned he explained that New Jersey residents now will have access to a safe and regulated online gaming market and the state will have a new source for revenue and job creation.

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