New Jersey is taking another crack at legalizing online gambling with a new bill that would export regulated online gaming across state lines. If successful, this could radically transform online gambling in the United States by restricting players’ access to international brands (in favor of New Jersey-based or New Jersey-approved brands).

State Senator Raymond J. Lesniak (of the Facebook-campaign-to-legalize-online-poker fame) has sponsored S-490, abill that would officially “authorize Atlantic City casinos to operate intrastate and international Internet wagering operations”. That bill was approved by 10-1 in a senate subcommitte and is now on track for a full senate vote.

So, even though it’s encouraging to see U.S. lawmakers treat online gambling as a priority, such a move would eventually push many international brands out of the United States altogether, which would disrupt many online casino affiliate marketing plans.

“If S-490 is signed into law, New Jersey will be the first state in the nation to have intrastate and international Internet gaming,” Lesniak said. “The revenues generated and jobs created are now going off shore to international gaming operators. S-490 will redirect those revenues to our casinos in Atlantic City … ”

Even though that may mean pushing international brands out, the Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association (iMEGA) supports the bill. “We’re really happy that it cleared this final hurdle in order to proceed to a floor vote,” iMEGA Chairman Joe Brennan told Poker News Daily, going on to state his confidence that the bill will pass.

The bill is part of a package of five bills, all relating to gambling, including an ambitious new horse racing bill. The bills are “intended to bolster economic activity and maintain competitiveness for our gaming industries, which are facing more and more competition from across State lines.”

“About 4,000 to 5,000 ‘immediate, direct jobs’ would be created by legalizing online gaming,” estimated William Pascrell III, a lobbyist for the bill, according to NorthJersey.com. He noted that Costa Rica “has added tens of thousands of jobs by being a pioneer in the industry.”

Nathan Denny
November 16, 2010


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