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NJ Online Gambling Bill Clears Assembly

By: Joan Peppin, Sunday December 12th 2010
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The New Jersey online gambling bill has moved with tremendous speed in the last few weeks. This bill, officially designated as S 490, was introduced in the New Jersey Senate by Senator Raymond Lesniak only in January 2010. On November 14, 2010, the bill was passed in the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee by a vote of 10 to 1. Then on November 22 it was passed in the New Jersey State Senate by a vote of 29 to 5. Finally on December 8, the New Jersey Assembly voted unanimously to pass the bill. The full vote is scheduled for Monday December 13. The bill needs 41 supporters or more in the full vote in order to pass, and that should not be a problem. After that Governor Chris Christie has 45 days to decide whether or not to sign the bill into law. Since Governor Christie is a Republican it remains to be seen whether he will listen to the legislators of New Jersey or will toe the line of the Federal Republicans. The bill's supporters are hoping that bill will be enacted before the end of the year.

When the bill was cleared by the Senate sub-committee it contained a provision that the licensed online gaming operators would be able to offer services to residents of New Jersey and to international players, but not to Americans residing in other states of the country. However in order to get the bill through the Assembly the provision of catering to international customers had to be dropped. Now only New Jersey residents will be able to avail of the services.

eGaming Review quoted an unnamed source as saying, "We are about to go and talk to the governor's people. If this passes New Jersey could become the Silicon Valley of e-gaming in the States. Since the very beginning this has become a priority for lawmakers here. We need to do something to reverse the State's gaming industry's decline in Atlantic City. We are very confident that this will be voted favorably on Monday and that it will soon come into law."

Atlantic City land casinos are in a sorry financial state. The S 490 will allow them to offer online the same versions of the games that they offer in their land casinos. This would bring in additional gaming revenue for the casinos and additional tax revenue for the state. New Jersey will be the first in America to offer regulated online casino gambling. The general online gambling bill at the federal level, the HR 2267, is stuck because the Democrats have lost majority in the House of Representatives. There are plans afoot to bring in only online poker bills at the Federal level and in the state of California, but they are facing unexpected hurdles.

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