New Jersey Lawmakers Going After Online Gamblers In Other States
Most states that are attempting to regulate online gambling are doing so under the premise that only gamblers that live in their state will be permitted to gamble at the online casinos. New Jersey lawmakers are taking another approach, passing a bill that would let gamblers from any state bet at New Jersey online casinos.
The bill that was passed through a House Committee on Thursday authorizes online casinos to take bets from residents in any state, as long as regulators determine that the activity is not against federal laws. That will be a tricky determination for the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.
Currently, the federal government is working on changing the countries' laws regarding online gambling. The government has had a long-standing policy that online gambling was illegal, but a Department of Justice opinion in December altered that stance to include only sports betting as an illegal online activity.
Since that opinion, state and federal legislators have been hard at work trying to come up with the regulatory framework for online casinos. The most common angle that lawmakers have taken involves regulating online poker, one of the fastest growing industries in the world.
New Jersey is making their second attempt at regulating Internet gambling. Last year, a bill passed both the House and Senate, but was eventually vetoed by Governor Chris Christie. The governor has stated in recent months that he would be open to online gambling regulations, if an airtight bill came to his desk.
Senator Raymond Lesniak has been the driving force behind not only online gambling, but also sports betting in New Jersey. Voters approved sports betting last year, and lawmakers have started the process of coming up with regulations that would allow Atlantic City casinos to open sports books. Even if the online gambling bill passes in the coming months, sports betting would be limited to land-based sports books in New Jersey.
Even with the uncertainty surrounding the time-frame of when a deal would get done, New Jersey lawmakers are excited over the opportunity to become one of the first states to regulate online gambling.
"The state of New Jersey must be in the forefront of legalizing this emerging marketplace," said Robert Griffin, President of the Casino Association of New Jersey. "Currently, millions of Americans engage in online gambling with illegal offshore operators with no oversight, no regulation, and no consumer protection. The state should regulate this activity, enforce strict standards to ensure the games are fair, and collect revenue rather than allow profits and jobs to illegally go overseas."