Online Gambling Bill Headed To Assembly Vote In New Jersey
Online gambling is no longer a dream in New Jersey. Lawmakers moved within one final step of becoming the second state in the US to regulate online gambling when a bill passed through the House Budget and Appropriations Committee on Monday afternoon.
The legislation would allow New Jersey residents to gamble from the comfort of their own homes, enjoying the popular casino games that have made Atlantic City one of the top gaming destinations in the world. The gambling measure is expected to help bring business back to AC casinos that have struggled since the economic recession.
"Most everything has migrated to the Internet and taken advantage of the consumer and revenue options it offers," said Representative Vincent Prieto, one of the bill's sponsors. "And New Jersey's gaming industry should be no different."
The Senate has been advancing a bill similar to the one progressing through the House. The legislative measures would allow AC casinos to operate online casinos, but it would prohibit bars and restaurants from hosting Internet gambling sites. The latter is something that Governor Chris Christie has mandated.
The governor has already shown lawmakers that he would not allow widespread Internet gambling when he vetoed a bill passed last year. Christie has informed lawmakers that he wants the gaming industry in New Jersey to rebound, and to do so, that means there can be no competition from outside sources such as the bars and restaurants.
Senator Raymond Lesniak has been the driving force behind both online gambling and sports betting in new Jersey. Voters approved a sports betting measure late last year, and lawmakers have been working towards crafting sports gambling regulations. The sports betting initiative will have to first clear a federal legal battle, as sports betting is illegal under a law created back in 1992.
Lesniak, and even Christie, have said that they will legally challenge the sports betting laws in the US.
Last year, Nevada became the first state to pass online gambling regulatory laws. Nevada regulators are currently in the process of accepting applications for Internet gaming licenses. The process is expected to be completed later this Fall.