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Online Gambling Passes Yet Another Hurdle in New Jersey
Following word this week that Governor Chris Christie may not be so gung ho about online gambling in New Jersey after all, yet another milestone was reached on Thursday.
An Assembly committee on Thursday approved a bill that would make New Jersey only the second state after Nevada to approve legalized intrastate online gambling, including poker and casino games. Those pushing the bill hope they could eventually form pacts with other states.
The Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee voted 3-1, with one abstention, to send the bill to a vote of the full Assembly. That one abstention came from State Sen. Ralph Caputo, D-Essex, who just happens to be a former Atlantic City casino executive. He wants more brick and mortar casinos built outside Atlantic City in locations such as the Meadowlands Sports Complex before making a decision on Internet gambling being accessible throughout the state. He has offered to accept such legislation if it includes a provision for expansion of brick and mortar casinos outside Atlantic City.
“I don’t know what anybody is afraid of,” Caputo said. “Let’s let the people decide.”
The Assembly version of the bill proposes higher tax rates than those suggested by the measure’s co-sponsor, Raymond Lesniak, D-Union. Lesniak expressed concerns over the ability to form lucrative state compacts for online poker down the road.
John Brennan of the Bergen Record broke it all down:
The Assembly version of the bill also proposes a higher tax rate than the Senate version: 20 percent of gross revenues, plus another 5 percent to the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, for an effective tax rate of 25 percent. The brick-and-mortar casino rate is 8 pct plus 1.25 pct, or effectively 9.25 percent. Of course, that rates ranks it with Nevada as the nation’s lowest.
Assemblyman John Burzichelli, D-Gloucester, an advocate for the measure, told Brennan, it was unclear if the bill would clear both chambers of the Legislature before the session ends for the summer on June 30. The result would be putting the measure on the back burner until the fall.
Christie, who last year vetoed a similar bill but this year offered up his support, said he still wants clarification from the state Attorney General’s office as to whether a voter referendum might be needed.
This could further prolong passage until later this year.
- Aaron Goldstein, Gambling911.com
Submitted by Aaron Goldstein on Thu, 05/10/2012 - 19:27