Internet Gambling Bill Would Allow Poker Online

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As first reported exclusively early this week, a new bill has been introduced that would allow legalized online poker and other Internet gambling, including sports betting.  The bill will offer New Jersey residents the first opportunity in the US to gamble with licensed businesses.

Yesterday, published the sports wagering bill, which sources claim will have the support of incoming NJ Governor, Republican Chris Cristie.  His office is yet to confirm this however.

A newly proposed law would allow Internet gambling by New Jersey residents, to be offered on Web sites through the state's casinos in Atlantic City. The bill was introduced in the New Jersey senate by Sen. Raymond J. Lesniak (D-Union), who also introduced a separate bill which calls for New Jersey residents to vote on a constitutional amendment that would permit state-regulated sports wagering in Atlantic City casinos, and by state residents via an intra-state Internet gambling system.

New Jersey currently offers wagering on horse racing to state residents through the Web site. The state would expand the law to permit Internet versions of games currently allowed in Atlantic City casinos, such as Poker, Blackjack and Baccarat. The intra-state Internet gambling system would be regulated by the New Jersey Casino Control Commission, which would establish a Division of Internet Wagering to oversee operations and licensing.

"We're happy that New Jersey has taken this issue into their own hands," said iMEGA chairman Joe Brennan Jr. "New Jersey is recognized as having the toughest gaming regulators in the US, but as a leading gaming state with a long track record of doing things the right way, Internet gambling will have a great home here and the opportunity to begin normalizing the industry."

Though iMEGA supports efforts in Washington DC, especially by Rep. Barney Frank (D) in the US House and Sen. Robert Menendez (D) in the US Senate, to create a Federal path to regulation, the association worked with New Jersey legislators on the new bill to ensure continued progress toward regulated Internet gambling in the US.

"The efforts to resolve the  Internet gambling issue have stalled in Washington DC," Brennan said. "If states assert their right to regulate gambling and take a serious look at permitting Internet gambling within their borders, one side effect may be a breaking of the deadlock in the US Congress."


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