Full legalization of Internet gaming may be coming to New Jersey as soon as this autumn, thanks to the passage of legislation in the state senate on Thursday. The state senate’s Committee on State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation approved the plan, which would define the regulations for Atlantic City casinos to build online portals for poker, blackjack and other games.
The bill looks likely to receive approval from the governor, which would make New Jersey the first U.S. state to fully legalize Internet gaming under conventions of current American gambling laws. American law currently provides for intrastate gambling if properly regulated. California legislators are currently considering such a bill for their state as well, particularly if in the form of an intrastate poker network, which would make it the first place to legally play online poker in the USA.
Those backing the bill have claimed online gaming could make as much as $250 million per year for New Jersey casinos and potentially create over 1,500 jobs. At a tax rate of 20 percent, the Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association (iMEGA) calculates a $47 million and $55 million influx of revenue for the state.
The bill was sponsored by Sen. Ray Lesniak and proposed a business model in which extant licensed gambling premises such as Atlantic City’s casinos would choose whether to pay $200,000 for online gaming licensing from the state. Activities of the New Jersey-based online casinos would be regulated by the same commission currently overseeing bricks-and-mortar casinos.
Said iMEGA chairman Joe Brennan, Jr., “New Jersey will be able to position itself as the national and potential global capital of the next gaming industry.”