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New Jersey Economy Would Be Helped By Legalized Online Poker

Written by:
Jagajeet Chiba
Published on:
Nov/08/2010
New Jersey Online Poker

In a report appearing Monday in NorthJersey.com, William Pascrell III, a lobbyist for an online poker bill in that state, has said that New Jersey is facing a “perfect storm” comprised of an economic crisis and struggling mainstay industries such as the Atlantic City casino sector and horse racing.  Online poker, he believes, can solve the state’s woes.

A portion of the proceeds derived by the industry would go towards the state Treasury while another portion could subsidize horse racing revenues and casinos would benefit as well, Pascrell says.

The bill, sponsored by state Senator Ray Lesniak, D-Union, and supported by the powerful industry trade organization, The Interactive Media Entertainment & Gaming Association, would allow New Jersey residents to place bets over the Internet.  20 percent of the gross gaming revenues – or more than double what Atlantic City casinos as a whole currently take in – would be collected by the state. 

Other benefits that might be realized based on findings by the state Senate Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee included:

* Authorize "exchange wagering," a new form of betting on horse races

* Allow towns that agree to accept an off-track wagering site to receive a slice of its gross gaming revenues

* Reduce the required number of standardbred racing dates at state tracks to 101 from 141

* Streamline and modernize regulations of Atlantic City's casinos

A state Senate committee will meet Monday to review an online poker betting bill.

Another significant benefit that could be realized is the creation of some 4000 to 5000 new jobs.  Costa Rica, the main hub for North American online gambling websites, has created some 10,000 jobs in its heyday, both directly and indirectly related to the sector. 

Governor Christie has declined to back Lesniak's efforts.  His advisor suggested added that "Further legal analysis is needed to evaluate whether in-state Internet gaming, operating with a hub in Atlantic City, is feasible at this time."

State Sen. Paul Sarlo, D-Wood-Ridge, thinks Atlantic City casino owners would be willing to accept online poker regulatory overhauls are made a primary focus

"I'm very confident that the package we've put forward will pass, and that it will go to the governor's desk," Sarlo told NorthJersey.com.

But State Sen. Michael Doherty, R-Warren, said diverting online poker revenues to horse racing smacks of "welfare, of the tracks being on the dole here."

"I'd rather they had slots at the racetracks, so they could compete in free enterprise against the tracks in New York and Pennsylvania that already have them," Doherty said. "I also wonder about the idea of some guy in his underwear online gambling at 3 o'clock in the morning. I don't think I want to support that."

- Jagajeet Chiba, Gambling911.com

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