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New Jersey Assembly to Vote on Internet Gambling Bill

The New Jersey Assembly released a list of bills that will be voted on during the general session on December 16th. Internet gambling and horseracing bills will be considered. BillA-2578 authorizes online gambling at Atlantic City casinos under certain circumstances. The internet gaming bill in congress would only legalize poker and all other forms of internet gambling will remain illegal. New Jersey will take a different direction. The bill states “Any authorized game or authorized gambling game, as defined in section 5 of P.L.1977, c.110 (C.5:12-5), that is authorized to be played in a casino may, with the approval of the division, be offered through Internet gaming.”

As long as they are within state boundaries New Jersey residents and visitors can bet on several popular casino games online. Bets must be placed in Atlantic City because the servers will be located there. The bill states “Internet gaming in this State shall be subject to the provisions of, and preempted and superseded by, any applicable federal law. Internet gaming in this State shall be deemed to take place where a casino’s server is located in Atlantic City regardless of the player’s physical location within this State. “The provision in the law will avoid conflicts with the state’s constitution which says that gambling can only take place in Atlantic City.

About a year ago New Jersey Governor Christie vetoed a similar bill citing constitutional issues. Several reports say that Atlantic City’s casino industry is in bad shape. Supporters of the bill hope that since constitutional issues have been addressed in the current bill Christie will sign the bill into law. The new version of the bill addresses the issue of “internet cafes” where owners advertise to attract customers to online gambling which had been a concern of Christie’s. Another provision that would have allowed the state Racing Commission to allocate up to $30 million to horse racing purses has been deleted from the new version.

As part of their investigative powers the Division of Gaming Enforcement and Casino Control Commission will review the past history of every internet gambling affiliate. The Commission can also impose limitations and conditions on the utilization of assets by gambling affiliates. New Jersey may be the first state to implement internet gambling.

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