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New Jersey Internet Gambling Bill Postponed Until Next Year

16 December 2010 by admin

jwoww-farley-profileIf you’ve been following online gambling legislation in the United States, you’ve probably been cheering for New Jersey to be the first state to regulate the industry. It once seemed like a sure thing to happen this year, with full support in both chambers and Governor Christie unlikely to veto it. To be honest, this online gambling bill is the most exciting thing to happen on the Jersey shore since JWoww slipped on a bikini that made her look hot enough for you to enjoy a few minutes of the show on mute.

The bill, which would regulate a new intrastate online gambling market in New Jersey, passed the state Senate already and then on December 9, it passed the State Assembly Regulatory Oversight & Gaming Committee. The bill, sponsored by Raymond Lesniak, seemed on the fast track to passage and most believed that it would be signed into law before the end of the year. Since then it has hit a slight snag, causing the vote to be delayed until January.

The bill was expected to be put to a full vote on the Assembly floor on Monday, December 16. However, a last-second amendment to the bill will delay the vote. An amendment to the bill would change the taxing of the industry. While the original bill – the version that passed by a unanimous committee vote – called for a permanent 5% racing levy, the amendment would reduce that rate after five years.

Atlantic City casinosBecause of the amendment, the bill will have to go back to committee for another vote. This is nothing that is likely to stop the bill from passing; it’s standard procedure. By state law, any time a change is made to any taxes on a bill, it must then be submitted to the Appropriations Committee of both the Assembly and Senate for approval. If the committees vote to approve the changes, which is expected, it will go back to the Assembly floor for a full vote. That vote is currently expected to take place on January 6, 2011.

The delay in the Assembly vote doesn’t really change much. Many were hoping the bill could be signed into law before the end of the year, but failing to do so doesn’t change its odds of passing. Unlike in Congress, bills in New Jersey don’t have to pass at the end of the last session of the year in order to avoid being automatically scuttled.

If the gambling legislation passes as expected, New Jersey will be the first American state to regulate intrastate Internet gambling. Residents of the Garden State would be able to gamble at any online casino licensed by the New Jersey Gaming Control Board. Those online casinos would be run by the brick and mortar casinos located in Atlantic City.

Though Lesniak’s online gambling bill was delayed, a separate sports betting bill passed the full Assembly by a 54-17 vote, with four lawmakers abstaining. That bill, if signed into law, would create an online betting exchange within the state of New Jersey for horse racing and sports betting.

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