Will New Jersey be the First State to Legalize Instate Online Gaming?

by Lou on November 19, 2010

New Jersey may become the first state to regulate, license, and tax internet gambling within its borders. A bill introduced by New Jersey State Senator Raymond Lesniak sailed through the state’s Senate Budget Committee on a 10-to-1 vote and is set for debate.

If Lesniak’s bill becomes law, all games now authorized for land-based casinos would be available online, including poker. New Jersey would tax gross gaming revenues at 20 percent, and operators would have to pay a licensing fee.

Atlantic City houses the only land-based casinos in the Garden State, and once had a stranglehold on East Coast gaming.  But expanded gaming in New Jersey’s neighboring states of Delaware, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Massachusetts has cut into their revenues.

Lesniak was quoted as saying, “If S 490 is signed into law, New Jersey will be the first state in the nation to have intrastate and international internet gaming. The revenues generated and jobs created are now going offshore to international gaming operators.”

The Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association (iMEGA), a strong supporter of Lesniak’s bill, believes it will pass in the State Senate, which will move it to the Assembly, where it has bipartisan support.

With Barney Frank’s proposed legislation to roll back UIGEA and establish a procedure for licensing online gaming nationally looking dead in the water as Congress prepares for its lame duck session, Lesniak’s New Jersey bill may become a model for other states looking toward intranet gaming as a way out of budgetary woes and fiscal dilemmas.

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