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New Jersery Senator Proposes Legislation to Regulate Online Casino Gambling

16 January 2010 by Devon Chappell

newjersey-gambling

The State of New Jersey could be the next U.S. State – oh, wait – the first U.S. State to get some serious regulations passed to liberalize the online gambling industry. The news comes shortly after New Jersey passed a law to legalize the medical use of Marijuana, followed by each of the State Senators taking a puff off a joint to make sure it was indeed safe for medical use.

While I truly wish it went down like that, my sarcasm comes from the fact that I personally don’t believe online gambling regulation stands a chance in New Jersey. Let’s face it –  this is coming from a State that recently shot down a provision to legalize gay marriage and is home to the second largest land-based casino Mecca in the United States. Of course, the latter could go in favor of New Jersey if there was full support from the brick ‘n mortar casino operators, who are no doubt financially struggling in these pressing times. However, there is no word on their feelings just yet.

The proposed bill, which is being spearheaded by Senator Raymond Lesniak doesn’t just call for the regulation of internet poker, it also seeks to liberalize online casino gambling as well. And Lesniak thinks he can muster support from the land-based industry by mandating that online casino companies are located in Atlantic County, thereby making it as simple as launching an online casino website for Atlantic City’s land-based casino operators. The other provision in the bill that would help streamline the regulatory process is that all of the current casino game rules and age requirements in Atlantic City would be used a template for the online sector.

In essence, Lesniak’s bill would simply set forth regulatory/taxation provisions to govern the online gambling industry if and when the industry becomes regulated on a Federal level. Following in the steps of California (which is only attempting to legalize online poker), Lesniak and his fellow New Jersey supporters are preparing the bill ahead of time, so as to give New Jersey casino gaming operators the ” first pick of customers from the State” if Congressman Barney Frank’s bill to overturn the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act is passed.

And that’s another matter altogether. While the U.S. economy could certainly stand to benefit from a surge in tax revenue, many of the same Senator’s who voted for the UIGEA (unknowingly or not) still hold their seats. Furthermore, the Obama administration, and Democrats as a whole, may be reluctant to act in a liberal manner toward something so contested as gambling, considering their current battle to pass health care legislation and the continual lambasting by Republicans for trying to liberalize, or should I say, reform the health care system as a whole.

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