The State of New Jersey, in their bid to legalise online gambling, have a new obstacle to overcome as the Department of Justice joins the fray.
It seems that any attempt by any authority in the United States to bring legalised online gambling to its citizens is blocked at every turn. This time it is the turn of the State of New Jersey that has been actively putting the wheels in motion to get intra-state online gambling legalised, in part to boost its flagging Atlantic City casino business. The state lawmakers had been successful up until now in getting legislation to the point where it has cleared the several political hurdles needed to bring it to the place where it can be signed into law. The bill is backed by the Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association (iMEGA) and has a good chance of being passed.
Time to throw a spanner in the works as the Department of Justice casts its baleful eye over the whole affair and shakes its proverbial head disapprovingly. By announcing its opposition to the state’s attempts to legalise sports betting within the state, the DoJ has have placed itself directly in the path of the bill’s passage and have created a scenario where the state now has to justify its actions.
Notification of the stance taken by the DoJ has been given to Judge Garrett E. Brown. The letter of opposition will be used as a part of its ongoing defence against iMEGA in their battle to have the sports betting laws overturned in the United States.
New Jersey passed legislation in November 2010 allowing a voter poll to be taken from the eight million or so residents of the state to gauge the amount of support the bill would have. This legislation had the backing of State Senator Ray Lesniak.
The Federal law that bans sports betting is claimed as being unconstitutional by iMEGA, as it prevents New Jersey residents from betting on sports while allowing it in other states, such as Nevada and Delaware. In its defense, the DoJ claims that iMEGA is not legally entitled to bring such action against the United States government.
This intervention by the DoJ could delay the passage of New Jersey’s gambling bill and put the brakes on its proposals to reverse the fortunes of its gambling industry. Atlantic City and the casino industry may have to wait a little longer for justice to be seen to be done.
New Jersey Closer to Legal Online Gambling
Citizens of New Jersey have come another step closer to being able to partake in legal online gambling while the rest of the United States looks on.
On Thursday, Senator Raymond Lesniak’s bill S-490 that outlines the way for the state’s casinos and gambling operators to provide intra-state online gambling services was passed by the New Jersey Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee. This follows its already successful approval by the State Senate on 22nd November by a crushing 29 to 5 majority. The bill must now go before the New Jersey State Assembly who will decide its fate and that of the prospect of legal and regulated Internet gambling within the state. If successful, the bill will be presented to Governor Chris Christie to be signed into law. This could become a reality before the end of next week.
There is plenty of momentum behind this bill, with a recent study estimating that regulated intra-state gambling could produce as much as $250 million for New Jersey in revenue. That much revenue would produce taxes to the value of $55 million for the state’s coffers.
In addition to the revenue benefit to the state, there is also an international appeasement in the shape of the conformation to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules. Had the bill allowed state based operators to accept foreign players, this would have created a conflict in WTO rules. Instead, by restricting state registered operators to only accept players from within the state, while prohibiting overseas based operators from allowing New Jersey players to participate, the rules are conformed to and everyone is happy.
This is good news for the state’s flagging gambling industry whose Atlantic City casinos are suffering from a big fall in revenue over the past few years. Online gambling has been viewed as part of the reason for the fall in casino revenue and the bill was created to put some of that revenue back into the state instead of lamely watching as it flows away to untaxed and unregulated foreign companies.
If bill S-490 is passed by the full Assembly, the state’s casinos will be allowed to provide the online version of all the favorite casino games, such as blackjack, poker, slots, craps, roulette, baccarat, sic bo and all the other popular games. Play here Zodiac Casino Canada. This will also put New Jersey ahead in the race to be the first US state to legalise online gambling ahead of close rivals California, Florida and Maryland.