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Online Gambling News from North America

By: Joe Valentino, Tuesday March 13th 2012
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The online gambling news from North America, whether from the United States or Canada, is coming from the states or provinces. There are two items from the United States and one from Canada.

New Jersey is an American state that has been in the news for its continuous but unsuccessful attempts to legalize and regulate intrastate online gambling. Earlier this month Senator Lesniak's new online gambling bill passed the Senate Government and Wagering Committee despite opposition from the horse racing lobby. Then, Assemblyman John Burzichelli, the vice chairman of the Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee, threw a spanner in the works stating that any online gambling would require a state-wide referendum. This was because the New Jersey constitution mandates that all gambling, except for lotteries and horse racing, be located in Atlantic City. In order to understand the expert opinion on this issue the House Wagering and Tourism Committee held a hearing on Monday March 12. John B. Wefing, a Seton Hall University Law Professor, opined that a referendum is not called for in order to enact the new intrastate online gambling legalization. Wefing said that the state constitution was not being violated because any online gambling transaction would not be complete until a server located in Atlantic City accepted the bet. Burzichelli said that the committee would ponder over various opinions received before taking a call. Another Assemblyman Ralph Caputo opined that a referendum be carried out even if not required by law.

An online gambling bill was introduced in the state of Mississippi a month ago by Representative Bobby Moak. The bill was not passed by the House committees and is being deemed as being given up. No reasons are as yet available why the bill was not passed. The industry opinion is that the fees and taxes were so steep that the proposal would not have been viable in any event.

The best news for online gambling proponents comes from the province of Ontario in Canada. The cash strapped state has unveiled a six year plan for online and land based gambling that is expected to fetch 1.3 million Canadian dollars in provincial tax revenues. On the online gambling front a "socially responsible and secure internet gaming site" operated by Ontario Lottery and Gaming will be running by 2013. Required changes will be made in the laws to allow the purchase of lottery tickets online and at retail markets. A new land casino is also envisaged. As in New Jersey, in Ontario the horse racing industry will have to bear a bit of the chop. Slot machines will be allowed beyond racetracks and land casinos will not have to share their slots profits with the courses.

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