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N.J. Passes Bill S1565, All Bets On Internet Gambling for 2012

N.J. Passes Bill S1565, All Bets On Internet Gambling for 2012

Last spring Gov. Chris Christie vetoed legislation that would have legalized online gambling, citing state constitutional concerns. However, a state Senate committee advanced bill S1565, Authorizing internet wagering at Atlantic City casinos under certain circumstances and amending and supplementing the “Casino Control Act”, on Monday despite opposition and the threat of legal action from the horse racing industry. The state’s constitution currently limits wagering to Atlantic City, except for horse racing, lottery, raffles and bingo, and any expansion generally requires that voters amend the constitution.

Democrats and sponsors of bill S1565, Raymond Lesniak and Jim Whelan agreed to forgo the help for horse racing. This action by bill supporters Lesniak and Whelan prompted Barbara DeMarco, a horse racing lobbyist for Porzio Governmental Affairs to say the change could lead to a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the expanded gambling.

Representatives of the Meadowlands Racetrack and the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey also said they don’t support the current bill, citing its impact on horse racing betting. “We believe it will draw from existing wagering pools,” said Tom Luchento, president of the horsemen’s group.

“I feel like I’m being blackmailed. If you don’t do this, we’re going to put a gun to your head, and we’re going to screw it up for the entire state of New Jersey, and then what will happen is we will have Internet gaming, but it will be based in Maryland or Delaware and everybody loses,” Whelan responded. “I‘m open to discussion but I don’t like a gun being put to my head and being told, ‘You will do this or else we will blow this whole thing up.’”

Governor Christie said he hasn’t been briefed on the progress, “I have great personal interest in it and want to see what they’re working on and hope we get to a point where we can overcome some of the concerns that I had when the bill was passed before when I issued a conditional veto,” the Republican governor said. “We’re in constant meetings. We had a great meeting with Sen. Lesniak last week. He’s working hard with us.”

The Senate Government and Wagering Committee passed the bill in a 3-0 vote with two abstentions despite the warning from the horsemen.

Reported by Maggie B.

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Sen. Lesniak Wants N.J. to Be the Silicon Valley of Internet Gaming

January 3, 2012 · Filed Under Casinos, Online Gambling News 

Since the D0J has changed it’s opinion on the Federal Wire Act last month, State Sen. Raymond Lesniak told the Associated Press on Monday he’ll try to get a bill through the Legislature and on Gov. Chris Christie’s desk by next week; Christie who vetoed the bill in March, fearing it would violate federal law and lead to a proliferation of back-room Internet gambling dens across the state.

“We can be the Silicon Valley of Internet gaming,” said Mr. Lesniak, a Democrat from northern New Jersey. “It’s the wave of the future. It’s going to come, and we can be in the lead on it.” The goal is to make New Jersey the national leader in online gambling, now that the federal government says in-state bets do not violate the law.

Lesniak introduced a new bill in August that he said contains safeguards to address Christie’s concerns, including fines of $1,000 per player per day for anyone running an illegal Internet betting parlor, and $10,000 for advertising such illicit operations.

Bettors would have to be New Jersey residents at least 21-years-old, and physically be in the state. Lesniak said existing software could verify those requirements.

A spokesman for Senate leadership said it won’t be clear until Tuesday whether there’s enough support to move forward quickly on the bill, and a spokesman for Assembly leadership said leaders would listen to Mr. Lesniak’s request before deciding on a course of action.

If the Internet bill becomes law, giving the casinos a new revenue stream, Lesniak said that would not necessarily make New Jersey lawmakers more likely to approve slot machines for horse tracks.

“Those are two separate issues,” he said.

Internet gambling revenue would be taxed at 10 percent instead of the current 8 percent on traditional casino revenue.

The bill also would allocate $100,000 a year from online gambling proceeds to fund programs for compulsive gamblers. People with gambling problems would be able to set limits on how much they could bet or lose within a specific time frame.

Reported by Maggie B.

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US Online Gambling – Business is In Front; The Law Needs To Catch Up

December 10, 2011 · Filed Under Online Gambling News 

Online poker, bingo and casino games players in the USA have been waiting for years and hoping for legislation to be passed to make this industry legal. The prospects of this ever taking place seem to be getting slimmer all the time. At a recent summit convened for Digital Gaming and Lottery Policy 2011 (the DGLP Summit is designed to bring regulators, policymakers, gambling operators, lotteries and technology providers under one roof to address policy changes in the United States that could result in the regulation of new forms of electronic, interactive gambling), Ray Lesniak was the first to address 100± online gambling industry delegates.

Another very interesting point of view was expressed at the summit. This was from Lloyd Levine, a former State Legislator in California. He said that they were in a position whereby the internet gambling industry had actually by-passed the law. So, the business was out in front and the law would have to catch up. No-one was sure what would happen, (although we saw an extreme example on Black Friday), so the position still remains; that if States such as Nevada and New Jersey pass their own legislation; the DoJ may also take action against them, just like they did with PokerStars and Full Tilt.

He calls intrastate online gambling a “calculated benefit” – still a gamble for the state. Because it still does not change the fact that UIGEA is a Federal Law which prohibits financial transactions between banks and online gambling sites. And the DoJ considers ALL online gambling to be illegal – that has not changed. It is something that bears thinking about doesn’t it?

Written by Neha A.

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