Online gambling update - New Jersey to legalize online casinos

Suddenly leaping ahead of California in the race to establish America’s first intrastate gaming network (and generate untold millions in revenue for state coffers), last week saw passage of legislation in the New Jersey senate that would provide for the certification, taxation and regulation of gaming websites for state citizens.
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Facing budget woes, New Jersey hurries to legalize online casinos

The bill passed the New Jersey senate’s Committee on State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation. The plan outlined in the legislation defines the regulations under which extant Atlantic City casinos will be allowed to offer sites for poker and casino gaming.

Due to the powerful influence of America’s professional sports leagues, legalized sports betting appears destined to stay off the boards for some time. This bill, however, is very likely to receive the approval of governor Chris Christie; fully legal online casinos will in theory be established as early as this fall and definitely by the end of 2010.

Some have estimated that online gaming would generate $55 million for New Jersey annually. Together with some reworking of current laws regulating bricks-and-mortar casinos, and gambling in New Jersey will seemingly be properly applied in solving the state’s – and Atlantic City’s – current financial woes. The state stands to make $250 million per year plus create 1,500 new jobs with some overhaul to gaming in-state.

This week, state assemblyman John Burzichelli promised the Greater Atlantic City Chamber that an overall overhaul of the state’s Casino Control Act was imminent, telling city civic leaders that “I think there will be movement in that direction in the next 90 days.”

Burzichelli explained that efforts to promote business growth in the gaming area are proceeding within the New Jersey Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee. Also serving on the state assembly’s budget committee, Burzichelli & Co. face a broader problem with which their gaming solutions are intimately tied in, and Burzichelli had to promise that the events of July 2006 – when the government temporarily went bankrupt and Atlantic City casinos were closed for three days – wouldn’t be repeated: “We’ll have a state budget,” he declared. “The state will not shut down.”

As for online gaming specifically, Burzichelli stated that internet gambling would be legalized “eventually” and that “New Jersey should make sure it runs through existing licensed casino operators in the state.”

“The question for us,” he postulated, “is how do we corral [online gaming] and protect the investments in Atlantic City so they get healthier?”

New Jersey hardly has a reputation for trendsetting in America, but the state is rapidly on its way to becoming the first in the U.S. to take advantage of a future certainty: Regulation and full legalization of online casinos, poker and sportsbook.

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“It’s not a question of if it will be legalized, it’s a question of when.” said John Pappas, Executive Director for the Poker Players Alliance.
US online casino gambling industry looking forward to US legalization.