A bill has been approved in New Jersey by the Senate committee that would allow casinos in Atlantic City to accept online bets and online poker. What makes this bill interesting is that New Jersey wants to accept interstate wagers and not just within the Garden State and even wagers from other countries. This would be possible if the Federal Government does not intervene and if the state Division of Gaming Enforcement determines it doesn’t violate federal laws.
In the race to become the first U.S. State to offer online poker, New Jersey has now taken over the lead from Nevada it seems.
The bill is sponsored by Senators Raymond Lesniak and James Whelan and was approved by 11 Senators at a hearing on Tuesday. It will now move on to a vote in the Senate and the Assembly, likely to take place sometime this month.
Atlantic City casinos are hurting and this move could be positive for them. Last year there was an attempt to set up a legal framework for online gambling in the state but was vetoed by Governor Chris Christie. Christie has since then changed his stance following the Department of Justice’s change of the interpretation of the Wire Act not to include online poker and now the Governor is pushing New Jersey’s potential as a center for online gaming.
“I think New Jersey should be in that business,” Christie said in January. “I think we should be an epicenter for that business, but I want to do it right. I do not want to rush and get legislation that either doesn’t pass state constitutional muster, or creates other problems for us,” he added.
Senator Lesniak believes that New Jersey could be up and running with online gaming by September 2012.