New Jersey is one step closer to having a policy in place for intrastate online gambling. The New Jersey Senate voted 29-5 to pass the bill that would allow Atlantic City casinos to offer their games to New Jersey residents as well as to those that live outside the United States.
The bill still has a few more hurdles to go, it now has to pass a vote by the State Assembly and the Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee, then actually get signed by Governor Christie. Most predict that the State Assembly and Committee vote will go the same as the Senate vote but are holding their breath as to what Governor Christie will do.
It could be a lot of pressure on Christie to sign the bill, vetoing it would mean voting against new jobs as will as much needed revenue. According to Jim Whelan (D-Northfield), co-chairman of the state’s Legislative Gaming Summit:
“Unless we take the necessary steps to bring our casinos and horse tracks into profitability and self-sufficiency, we’re going to lose these economic engines and all the benefits they bring to our State,” Whelan said. “This would be a devastating blow to New Jersey’s economic future, and it’s something we cannot allow to happen. Through the measures approved [Monday], and additional bills which I expect to move shortly, we will be able to give our gaming and wagering industries a fighting chance.”
Senator Raymond Lesniak (D-Union) who is the bill’s sponsor has been taunting the revenue and how it would boost the gambling industry in New Jersey which are reeling during these bad economic times.
“This bill would generate a minimum of $35-million in tax revenue to help build a bridge to self-sufficiency for our State’s ailing horse tracks,” said Lesniak. “It would generate millions of dollars in private revenue and would give casinos a new product to capture gaming dollars from tech-savvy gamblers. Right now, Internet wagering is taking place, and the funds are going to off-shore operators. It’s time that we give casinos the authority and the tools to keep these funds in the Garden State.”
There is a lot at stake here other than online poker and casino games. The horse tracks got a boost by getting a passage of the exchange waging bill and there is now a referendum for allowing sports betting to be put in front of voters real soon as well.
According to the bills language the online casino games will include:
Poker, roulette, baccarat, blackjack, craps, big six wheel, slot machines, minibaccarat, red dog, pai gow, and sic bo; any variations or composites of such games, provided that such variations or composites, and any above listed game or variation or composite of such game to be offered through Internet wagering.
Can read all the bill here.