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New Jersey, Unlike US, Adheres To WTO With Online Gambling Law

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The US created a law back in 2006, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, that was in direct violation of trade agreements with other countries. The US has heard from the World Trade Organization regarding the violations, but lawmakers have done nothing to come into compliance.

The state of New Jersey is set to become the first state to regulate online gambling, and they almost made the same mistake the federal government made back in 2006. Legislator Raymond Lesniak proposed online gambling legislation that would have allowed licensed online sites in New Jersey to accept customers from foreign countries, but foreign operators could not partake in the business. That meant, the WTO would be concerned with the US only allowing their operators to be licensed, a direct violation.

Late this week, Lesniak amended his bill to exclude foreign customers. The lawmakers claims he did not want a problem with the WTO, and that his legislation would still bring millions of dollars in revenue. The Senate has already approved the Internet gaming bill, and the New Jersey Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee did the same on Thursday.

New Jersey is hoping to beat California, Maryland, and Florida into the online gambling industry. All four states have lawmakers pushing plans for Internet wagering, with California and New Jersey being farthest along the path.

In New Jersey, Lesniak saw online gambling as a way to help the struggling Atlantic City casino industry. Another bill proposed and passed on Thursday would authorize sports betting in New Jersey. This law could become controversial due to federal laws regarding sports wagering.

With the online gambling bill, online sites will only be allowed to offer their services to New Jersey residents. Customers from out of the state or another country would be excluded from playing at these sites.

On a federal level, Senator Harry Reid is attempting to pass an Internet poker bill that would allow casinos that have been open for over five years to apply for Internet gaming licenses in their state. Individual states would have the option to opt out of Reid's legislation.

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