New Jersey First US State To Legalise Online Poker?November 17, 2010 10:04 am
New Jersey has seen its gambling revenues steadily declining over the past couple of years as a result of a faltering US economy, as well as increased competition from neighbouring states such as Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.
With the states only land-based casino resort of Atlantic City posting 26 months of consecutive decline, New Jersey is now in the process of becoming the first state to regulate and tax the online gaming industry in the USA.
Senator Ray Lesniak has been instrumental in the push to licence online gambling in New Jersey in an attempt to bring millions of dollars in extra revenue to the state’s beleaguered race tracks and casinos industry.
State Senator Ray Lesniak’s S490 bill to set up a regulatory body to oversee internet gambling within New Jersey’s borders cleared the Senate Budget Committee on Monday. If it is subsequently passed in the State Senate and meets the approval of the Assembly and Governor Christie, then New Jersey would receive 20% of the selected companies’ online gambling revenue, estimated to be worth around $50 million annually for the state.
From the proceeds, New Jersey’s ailing horse racing industry would then be earmarked for a $30 million annual subsidy, which is currently being funded by Atlantic City’s casinos.
Commenting on the exciting development, Ray Lesniak, said:
“The revenues generated and jobs created are now going offshore to international gaming operators. S 490 will redirect those revenues to our casinos in Atlantic City and, under S 11, to build a bridge to self-sufficiency for our horse racing industry and help save its 13,000 jobs and $1 billion of revenues generated in New Jersey.”
By allowing online gambling and poker only within its borders, New Jersey would also be able to avoid any possible federal level objections based on the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006.
“New Jersey could become a global Mecca for Internet gaming,” continued Lesniak. “If S 490 is signed into law, New Jersey will be the first state in the nation to have intrastate and international internet gaming.”
Passage of the bill is reasonably expected around Q1 2011, although it could come sooner.