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New Jersey Becomes First State To Regulate Online Gambling

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In the race to become the first state to regulate online gambling, New Jersey has won. Lawmakers in both the Senate and the Assembly overwhelmingly passed legislation Monday that will bring poker, blackjack, and other popular casino games to the Internet.

In a rare show of solidarity, Democrats and Republicans came together to pass the online gambling bill. The Senate passed the bill 34-2, while it passed the Assembly by a 63-11 vote. Now, all that is left between Atlantic City casinos and their customers at home will be the signature of Governor Chris Christie.

The governor is a Republican, and may receive a little pressure not to sign the bill because of the legal battle that will follow on a federal level. Christie has been an advocate of expanded gambling to help Atlantic City casinos in the past year, so the expectation is that he will sign the bill.

New Jersey had been in a race with California and Florida to become the first state in the country to regulate online poker and other games. Millions of dollars are expected to be pumped into the state economy and budget if the legislation becomes reality.

The federal laws will create a stumbling block for New Jersey. While states have the right to create their own laws, New Jersey will have to be careful of how they regulate the Internet gaming industry. One key factor will be monitoring to ensure that only New Jersey residents gamble at the online sites.

The groundbreaking vote today should have major ramifications throughout the US. California lawmakers will likely step up their efforts to regulate online poker, while dozens of other states will monitor how the online gaming industry takes shape in New Jersey.

Senator Raymond Lesniak will become the cult hero of millions of gamblers in the US should Christie follow through and sign the bill. Gamblers have been looking for a legislator to take up their cause of consumer protection, with Lesniak and his fellow New Jersey lawmakers finally providing that stability.

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