In hopes of reviving the state horse racing industry and boosting the revenues of the Atlantic City casinos, there was almost a dozen bills that legislators voted on that drew bipartisan support Thursday as they are trying to send as many bills to the desk of Governor Christie’s by years end as possible.
The Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee Assembly voted to approve a bill that would make New Jersey the first state to legalize online gambling in the United States. This bill has already passed the state Senate and now can head to a full assembly vote as soon as Monday.
According to State Sen. Ray Lesniak, D-Union,who is the lead supporter of this proposal, the bill will not break the federal restrictions on gambling due to the fact that only New Jersey residents while within the state borders would be allowed to gamble online.
This is slightly different to the original bill that would allow for foreign residents to also gamble. There was an amendment to the original that dropped this provision out of concern that it would complicate the federal government stance with the World Trade Organization.
Initially there will be a 15% tax on internet revenue. This money would be used to supplement declining horse racing purses. According to Lesniak, “This bill would create a bridge to self-sufficiency for the horse racing industry.”
So after years of talking, trying and failing, it seems now there is some sort of race to see who can be the first state to allow online gambling in the U.S. as well as Senator Reid trying to push through a federal bill legalizing online poker.