Everything was looking rosy for online gambling in New Jersey after the June 3 3-1 vote by the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee to pass Senate bill S490 with very few amendments.
Now, the very casinos that would most benefit from that very law, have announced through the Casino Association of New Jersey (CANJ), their trade organization, that they do not want the bill to pass. CANJ represents all eleven Atlantic City casinos. It sent a letter to Assemblyman John Burzichelli, Chairman of the Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee, requesting that they either vote no on online gambling legislation or else not hold any vote on it until “further guidance can be given from the Attorney General or other law enforcement”.
John Corbo, President of CANJ and Vice President and General Counsel at the Borgata, stated in the letter that the gaming industry is very interested in working with the federal and state governments in finding a “viable business model to deal with some forms of Internet gambling,” but “it is very clear that the federal government must take the lead on this issue”. The letter further stated that Atlantic City would be harmed by expanding gambling services to the internet, in that it would undermine the city’s status as a destination resort.
Frank Catania, a former director of the New Jersey Division of gaming Enforcement, and President of Catania Consulting Group of New Jersey, disagrees. He stated: “This bill would give the casinos the ability to market to people playing poker, slots, or other games on the Internet in New Jersey and bring them to Atlantic City…The demographics of people who are playing on the Internet are different from the demographics of the people who are actually coming to the casinos now. The ones on the Internet are the younger crowd, and if the casinos could use this to bring the younger crowd in, in my opinion, it’s going to increase their business.”
New Jersey’s legislative session meets year round and ends at the end of 2011, so they have plenty of time to get this bill passed.