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New Jersey Could Approve Internet Gambling as Early as March 15

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Mar/07/2012
New Jersey Could Approve Internet Gambling as Early as March 15

In an exclusive interview with PokerNews.com this week, New Jersey State Senator Raymond Lesniak predicted that Internet gambling could be approved in the state as early as March 15 (2012).

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New Jersey is looking to become the second state to legalize Web gambling within its borders after Nevada.  New Jersey is expected to look into a multi-state platform similar to that of Powerball once legislation is passed.

"The race is on," Lesniak said. "There's certainly room for two major states to regulate the industry and combine with other states. If we get there first or they get there first, we'll both be operating. We expect New Jersey to be the Silicon Valley of Internet gaming in the country."

While there is some opposition to the current New Jersey measure to legalize Internet gambling by the state’s horse racing industry, Lesniak expects the bill to be approved by both houses of the state legislature on March 15.  Governor Chris Christie has favored such a measure and is expected to sign the bill into law once passed by both houses. 

From PokerNews.com:

A state senate panel approved Lesniak's revised bill Monday but an assembly committee didn't vote on the legislation over concerns that a ballot initiative might be needed to alter the New Jersey constitution to allow for gambling outside of Atlantic City even though the actual hubs for gaming will be located at city casinos. Lesniak said this hurdle won't be an issue and that the legislation will pass through the committee early next week.

Lesniak indicated that, while he always knew there was no law in the U.S. that made online poker illegal, the DOJ's December opinion that the Wire Act applies only to sports betting helped convince Christie to support the current bill before other states move on the issue.

While the previous legislation would have only allowed for Internet gambling within state borders, another result of the DOJ opinion is that Lesniak now expects New Jersey to form compacts with other states to create a larger pool of players.

"Only a handful of states can have a regulatory scheme and possess the experience in operating these types of games — obviously Nevada and New Jersey, and likely California," Lesniak said. "It would be a lot easier for most other states to have a compact with us and do a profit-sharing agreement. Market share is very important in this business, and that's why it's important to be there first."

- Chris Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher

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