Amendments Introduced To New Jersey’s Online Gambling Bill Spells Relief for Gamblers

May has been an eventful month for the state ofNew Jerseywith several important decisions taken on the subject of online gambling. Currently, the online gambling bill inNew Jerseyis under the scanner with a vote scheduled on May 31. The outcome of the vote has not been released but the bill continues to be a topic of debate. First introduced into the Senate by Ray Lesniak and Jim Whelan,New Jersey’s senate recently approved some of the proposed amendments.

History of the gambling bill

The House Committee of the state passed a version of the online gambling bill earlier in May. The senate version of the same was brought to notice a few weeks later with a possibly decisive vote organized recently. The bill proposed to the state assembly was named AB2578, with numerous amendments suggested by the Senate.

After the introduction of the UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act) in 2006, Section 37 has remained important for online gambling providers. The amended section states that online gambling companies that participated in betting with US citizens afterDecember 31, 2006are denied any gambling license in the state. Some of the biggest online gambling names associated with the amended law include PokerStars, Bwin and

Important amendments introduced

Online gambling companies operating inNew Jerseyare now governed by the licensing requirements applicable on other enterprises in the casino service industry. TheNew Jerseysenate decided that all casino games authorized for land based casinos should be approved by the regulator, following which they can be offered online. The regulator is also responsible for the testing of software and hardware used in online gaming. All software and hardware equipment used by online casino operators should be stationed inside the premises of a licensed casino inAtlantic City. Earlier, these rules dictated that the equipment be located anywhere insideAtlantic City.

After forming agreements with licensed casinos, online gambling companies are permitted to take part in operations. To ensure safe and responsible gambling,New JerseyStatewill actively take up on awareness campaigns and educate the masses about online gambling. All online operators in the state are required to display information about responsible gambling in prominent banners on webpages displaying login and logout features.New Jerseywill also make more provisions to fund necessary treatment for compulsive gambling.

Factors that brought about change

While the nationwide take on online gambling in the United Statesis still undecided, it is possible that different states provide their stamp of approval for regulated online gambling. The debates surrounding online gambling inNew Jersey were sparked by an incident that involved illegal sports betting. After a less than respectable family was held for operating an illegal online sports betting site outside the state, theNew Jersey senate sprung into action.

It was Senator Ray Lesniak who first proposed the regulation and legalization of online gambling. He pointed out that without strict regulations and appropriate level of freedom for the public to gamble, illegal operations will continue to flourish. Most organized crime groups make use of offshore betting sites to provide online betting for citizens in different parts of the country. This form of online gambling did not promote responsible gambling and often resulted in unsafe and uncontrolled sports betting.

Senator Lesniak urged the Governor to consider legalizing and strictly monitoring online gambling in the state. The legalization of online gambling inNew Jerseywould also address the federal ban on online sports betting. Lesniak believes that providing a legal betting ground for residents in the state ofNew Jerseywould not only minimize unsafe and illegal operations but also provide much needed funding to the state. Putting a stop to illegal gambling activities in the state will significantly reduce the funds that are transferred to organized crime groups and instead be used for other beneficial purposes.

Initiatives by the Governor

Chris Christie, New Jersey State Governor, seemed to agree with Senator Lesniak’s ideas. He announced that citizens ofNew Jerseywould be allowed to indulge in online betting for basketball, football and other sports by September this year. Despite anticipating legal action from the federal authorities, Christie is confident of the state’s success. The Governor has already signed a law that allows bets at casinos inAtlantic City. TheNew Jerseystate legislature also allowed permission to take bets on horse tracks anywhere in the state.

Reaction of online casino operators

Most casino owners in the state have reacted to the proposals positively. However, despite showing enthusiasm, owners are wary of taking the first step unaided. Tony Rodio from Tropicana Entertainment revealed that casinos and online betting sites were apprehensive about taking the first step as they feared a shut down. They are currently awaiting more clarifications on the matter before they can invest in online sports books.

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