Online Gaming Expected To Be Available In New Jersey By September
Thursday, 8. March 2012

Just when you thought they were out, it would appear that New Jersey is still in the race to be the first state to allow residents to participate in online poker.

New Jersey State Senator Raymond Lesniak announced that he expects online gaming legislation to pass both houses of the New Jersey legislature on March 15th. Such legislation was proposed in the past; however, Senator Lesniak believes that the governor will sign this time around and that online poker should be available to New Jersey residents by as early as the 1st of September.

In January of last year, New Jersey became the first state to pass legislation that would legalize online gambling; unfortunately, the bill was vetoed by Governor Christie. Meanwhile, Nevada has jumped ahead; passing legislation, approving regulations and even moving forward towards accepting applications for operators looking to acquire online poker licenses.

Senator Lesniak’s revised online gaming bill has already been reviewed and approved by a state senate panel on March 5; however, an assembly committee held off on voting over concerns that a ballot initiative might be required in order to allow online gamers located outside the Atlantic City city limits to participate. The actual online casinos themselves will be operated out of a select number of Atlantic City’s casinos. Senator Lesniak feels that this is a minor issue and that he fully expects the legislation to pass without any hitches.

Senator Lesniak further stated that the US Department of Justice (DOJ) made it clear this past December that the prohibitions of the Wire Act only apply to sports betting (click here for more information regarding the dramatic announcement made by the DOJ). He expects that the DOJ’s opinion will help Governor Christie to support the bill and propel New Jersey into the pole position of online gaming in the US.

The DOJ’s announcement has also caused Senator Lesniak to make some significant changes to the proposed bill. The old version of the bill only allowed for online gambling within New Jersey’s borders. The new bill leaves the doors open for New Jersey to enter into agreements with other states in order to offer their residents access to New Jersey’s future online gaming sites. The idea being that with the exception of New Jersey, Nevada and California, most states have very little experience with gambling legislation and regulation. With the new version of the legislation, New Jersey would be allowed to offer gaming services to residents of other states through the development of profit-sharing relationships with the said states.

While it would appear that online poker is basically "a go” for New Jersey, there could be issues with the federal government regarding other forms of online gambling such as online Slots, online Blackjack and online Bingo.

Senator Lesniak would like to see New Jersey be one of the first states to offer online gambling. He feels that an early entrance into the industry will help New Jersey command a larger stake in the burgeoning market though agreements with other states and establish New Jersey as the “Silicon Valley of Internet gaming” in the US.

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