On Monday, New Jersey came one step closer to regulating online gambling within the state. State Senator Ray Lesniak’s bill passed the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee by an overwhelming 10-1 vote and now will become considered by the full Senate.
S-490 would allow Atlantic City casinos to offer online versions of their games. The bill is aimed to help support the states horse racing and casino industries who have had trouble making it in these troubled economic times. Also if passed the bill will not only provide intrastate online gambling but also provide services to international customers as well.
According to Senator Lesniak,
The revenues generated and jobs created are now going offshore to international gaming operators. S-490 will redirect those revenues to our casinos in Atlantic City and, under S-11, to build a bridge to self-sufficiency for our horse racing industry and help save its 13,000 jobs and US$1 billion of revenues generated in New Jersey.
Currently the Atlantic City casinos subsidize the horse racing facilities in the state by $30-million annual, this will be eliminated in the new bill and replaced with a part of the revenue gained from online gambling. Experts believe that this revenue will easily make up the $30 million annual subsidy being taken away.
The lobbying group iMEGA (Media Entertainment and Gaming Association) worked alongside of Senator Lesniak while he drafted this bill said that according to a commissioned study, the NJ intrastate online gambling revenue could raise as much as $250M in gross gaming revenue a year and add $55M in taxes annually.
This bill has the support of many Senators in the state and Governor Christie is also looking into it. California has recently been this far into getting a bill passed to allow for some form of online gambling and has failed. Soon we will find out if New Jersey will be the first to allow online gambling within its state.