Internet Gambling Bill Clears Committee

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TRENTON — The Assembly Regulatory and Oversight Committee unanimously approved a measure sponsored by state Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Elizabeth) that would allow Internet gambling – including online poker – in New Jersey.

In an attempt to keep from violating federal restrictions, only New Jersey residents would be able to make use of the system. A portion of the revenue from this Internet gaming would go to the New Jersey Racing Commission.


In testimony before the committee, Lesniak estimated the measure would provide $31.5-37.5 million to benefit the state’s troubled horse racing industry.

“It would generate millions of dollars in private revenue and would give casinos a new product to capture gaming dollars from tech-savvy gamblers,” Lesniak said after the state Senate passed the bill last month.

The Assembly committee voted 4-1 in favor of resolution to put a state Constitution amendment on the ballot to allow sports betting if federal law permits it. Lesniak sponsored an identical Senate resolution.

Lesniak is suing the federal government in an attempt to overturn a law that restricts sports betting to Nevada, Delaware, Oregon and Montana.

A report from Wall Street ratings company Moody’s Investors Service said that Lesniak’s initiatives would be of little help to New Jersey’s casino industry.

“We do not believe Internet gambling and sports betting will grow the overall market because consumers will continue to feel pressure from economic forces such as high unemployment for some time,” the report said. “We expect revenue would go in one pocket and out the other as gaming companies use different forms of gambling to vie for the same customer base.”

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