New Jersey Plans to Take Online Bets From Across US but Utah Can Fugetaboutit

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
New Jersey Plans to Take Online Bets From Across US but Utah Can Fugetaboutit

A signature piece of legislation that would make New Jersey the second state to offer online gambling within its own borders made it through a state Senate subcommittee with ease despite earlier concerns of potential opposition.  Nevada became the first late last year but its law hinges heavily on a federal ban on Internet gambling being lifted. 

New Jersey it seems has more lofty goals.  The bill as it stands now would allow individuals to place bets with state-licensed Web casinos from anywhere within the United States and around the world for that matter provided the state/jurisdiction approves.

Utah and Washington State are among those that will not.  The former elected to opt out of any multi-state Web gambling programs while Washington State currently makes it a Class C felony for its citizens to place wagers over the Net. 

Following a US Justice Department change of position as it applies to poker and casino games, a number of states were quick to explore opportunities for offering what is effectively deemed to be “acceptable” Web gambling.  Some, like Mississippi and Hawaii, quickly realized this was no easy task.  Interest groups, especially those that are flat out opposed to any form of gambling, let alone the virtual kind, make passing such legislation close to impossible from the get go.  States like California have been trying for more than two years now, but the Tribal casinos often stand in the way. 


For New Jersey, the move to legalize Internet gambling, including sports wagering, began more than two years ago with plenty of barriers, the biggest of which was Governor Chris Christie.  The bigger than life Governor vetoed a piece of legislation that landed on his desk just hours before a critical deadline.  With the US Justice Department’s newfound opinion, Christie has now seemingly offered his full-fledged support.

The Garden State has around 9 million residents, enough to sustain a small but lucrative online poker industry.  The true prize, however, would be to form compacts with other states, possibly Connecticut, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York at the onset.  It seems an odd marriage considering New Jersey blames its neighbors for eating away at revenues of its own gambling Mecca, Atlantic City, in recent years. 

Presumably customers from surrounding states will have to pay tax to their local government.  The platform might be along the lines of the state lottery system and its Powerball game.  How this all comes to fruition is anyone’s guess.

What we do know is that legalized Internet gambling in the United States has taken a giant leap towards reality on Tuesday by way of New Jersey. 

- Chris Costigan, Publisher

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