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New Jersey Wants to be First in US Online Gaming Race

4 March 2011 by admin

New Jersey is not the only state in the US that is eyeing legalizing and regulating online gambling. Florida, California and lately Iowa are all putting legislation to legalize and regulate online gambling within their own states. Naturally the whole point is to use online gambling as another source of revenue to fill in holes in state budgets.

But New Jersey wants to be first. And despite Governor Chris Christie’s veto yesterday they still think it will happen. Senator Raymond Lesniak believes that intrastate gambling would be lucrative and puts the estimated revenue that could be generated at around $210 million each year. That increase would filter into New Jersey coffers through the taxes paid by brick and mortar casinos in Atlantic City.

Being the first state to regulate online gambling has its benefits beyond just being the first state to benefit from online gambling. The first state to regulate online gambling would mean establishing the “home” of online gambling. As chairman of the lobbyist for Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association Joe Brennan Jr. put it, the first state that establishes online gambling within its borders will become the Silicon Valley for online gambling in the US. This means that New Jersey would stand to gain not only a nice increase in revenue, but also the opportunity to create 1,500 to 2,000 new jobs to handle the regulating.

This fact is not lost on New Jersey legislators. John Burzichelli, who sponsored the bill when it made its appearance in the House Assembly for its vote, says that online gambling on a state level “is a complicated issue that raises many legal questions. The reality is that Internet gaming is coming out, and we need to figure out a way to make it work to benefit Atlantic City casinos.”

And benefitting Atlantic City casinos is exactly what Christie wants to see. Hence his conditional veto, citing the fact that the bill as is a threat to the monopoly in Atlantic City. If legislators were to revise the bill before voting on it again, it is possible that Christie could wind up passing it in the long run. But they will have to make quick work of the revisions to beat Florida, California or Iowa in the state level online gambling race.

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