Legislature To Vote On Internet Gambling Bill

TRENTON – Both the General Assembly and state Senate are scheduled to vote on revised legislation today that would allow Atlantic City casinos to run online casino games. Gov. Chris Christie said that he would sign the revised bill as long as it incorporates the changes he made through a conditional veto earlier this month.

The Assembly passed the bill by a 68-5-1 vote this afternoon.

“This bill represents an important policy decision for the residents of New Jersey, and a historic opportunity to continue the State’s leadership as a premiere destination for tourism and entertainment, ” Christie said.

Under the bill, any game that is authorized to be played in a casino could, with the approval of the Division of Gaming Enforcement, be offered through Internet gaming. People in New Jersey would be able to play, and people from out-of-state would be able to as well,
as long as it’s consistent with federal law.

“We must position New Jersey’s gaming industry to thrive in the 21st Century, and that involves authorizing a legally sound Internet gaming law such as the one now on the table,” said Assemblyman John Burzichelli (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland), one of the bill’s prime sponsors. “This will be another key piece of our effort to boost New Jersey’s gaming industry by expanding and modernizing our wagering options, and I look forward to it becoming law.”

“Internet gaming will provide a lifeline to New Jersey casinos by producing more jobs and additional revenue,” said state Sen. Ray Lesniak (D-Union), a prime sponsor of the Senate version of the bill. “It will help casinos recover from the gaming losses that have plagued them in recent years. It could even save some casinos from closing their doors. At the same time, it will contribute to the state’s economic recovery and generate more revenue for state programs for seniors and the disabled.”

Under the bill, all Internet gaming would be deemed to take place in Atlantic City and all equipment used in Internet gaming would be required to be located in Atlantic City, except that backup equipment and certain other equipment could be located elsewhere.

The changes suggested by the governor:

  • Extend existing prohibitions on casino-related employment and representation for state employees and legislators to Internet gaming licensees and their promoters and affiliates;
  • Establish a requirement that state elected officials promptly disclose their past and present representations of entities seeking or holding Internet gaming licenses; and
  • Enhance the level of funding for compulsive gambling treatment programs and additional financial support for other beneficial purposes for which casino gaming was originally authorized.

Nevada approved an internet gambling bill last week, and Delaware is also exploring internet gambling options.

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