Just last year the New Jersey State Assembly okayed an online gaming legislation package by a nearly 6 to 1 margin. The assembly approved passage with a vote of 63 to 11, but that was still not enough to convince Governor Christie that online gambling was right for his state. He vetoed that legislation, and pro-internet gambling lawmakers were forced back to the drawing board. A revised package recently made its way to the Assembly, and on Monday, December 17, that online gaming bill received an early holiday present when it was okayed by a vote of 48 for, 25 against and 3 uncommitted votes.
Even though the State Assembly vote was not quite as favorable this time, pro-online gaming legislators and pro-gaming New Jersey citizens are hopeful that Governor Christie will allow this new internet gambling legislative package through with the changes that have been made from the previous attempts. Having said that, a nearly 2 to 1 margin certainly bodes well for this new online gambling bill to appeal to both sides of the aisle. What is up next? The bill will head to the Senate this Thursday, December 20, where it hopes to pick up steam with a senatorial approval. And one unique provision would make the New Jersey online interactive gaming proposal more appealing in some ways to online gamblers in the US than those already passed in Nevada and Delaware.
In the press release detailing the State Assembly vote and passage, it was noted that New Jersey residents would obviously be allowed to participate in whatever form of online gambling is passed. However, at this juncture the current bill would also allow for non-New Jersey players in the United States to participate while they were located out-of-state, “as long as it is consistent with federal law.” The federal law referred to includes the US Department of Justice’s decision last December to let each individual state decide whether they would offer some form of online gambling or not.
If this bill is passed by Governor Christie, it will be interesting to see if players from outside New Jersey in the US states are allowed to participate. But at worst, residents of the Garden State would finally be able to enjoy some responsible adult online gaming for money when located in their state boundaries. The laws currently in effect in Nevada and Delaware only allow for those state’s residents and any travelers located within state boundaries to benefit from their newly passed Internet gaming legislation. Assemblyman John Burzichelli (D) called this particular bill “a legally sound Internet gaming law.” He went on to point out that the New Jersey gaming industry needs to position itself to thrive in the 21st century, a period of time in which he believes online gambling in the United States will become commonplace.
He also said that in his opinion this is a key piece of legislation which will help boost the New Jersey gaming industry by offering more modern and expansive wagering options. In an opinion not often voiced, Assemblyman Vincent Prieto (D) pointed out that “most everything else has migrated to the internet and is taking advantage of the consumer and revenue options it offers,” and he feels that the New Jersey gaming industry should follow suit. Certainly any adult alive today can vouch for the incredible growth and popularity of desktop and mobile computing, and pointing out such a connection to a popular pastime already enjoyed by millions of Americans is a wise move by Prieto to garner support.