Even if the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) now in effect California and Florida have been looking into making online gambling legal within their states for state residents. They are looking into it mostly as another source of income, which is much needed.
But while California has been going round and round in talks with tribes in their state, and Florida has been going back and forth with the Seminoles, New Jersey has snuck in under the radar.
On Thursday a bill, proposed by Senator Ray Lesniak, that would regulate online gambling within the state for New Jersey residents passed a committee vote 3-1. With the bill passed it can now go to the entire Senate for discussion and hopefully a vote that will allow for online gambling in New Jersey.
The way the bill works is to allow licensed casinos the ability to create sites online that allow for gambling online. Casinos must be licensed because without that license, according to federal law, they would not be allowed to offer online gambling. But since casinos in Atlantic City are licensed…well, you see where I am going with this.
Should this bill be passed into law, New Jersey would be the first state in the U.S. to have regulated online gambling. It is estimated that this could bring in $45 to $55 million in revenue. It could also give new life to the casinos in Atlantic City who have been struggling along the last couple of years. These casinos could be looking at around $250 million in new revenue by having regulated online gambling from their casinos.
As for the residents of New Jersey, they would be the first U.S. citizens to legally be allowed to gamble online. This means that online blackjack could very well be a reality for fans of blackjack in New Jersey.
New Jersey is one of the leading regulators of the brick and mortar casino industry. So it isn’t any surprise that those in the U.S. are eyeing them as the potential first to regulate online gambling for their state.
In fact, there are two bills in the state’s Senate and Assembly. And they both have bipartisan support too.
What these two bills are aiming to do is allow brick and mortar casinos the chance to apply for licenses to operate some online gambling services, which are to include online blackjack.
The way the bills are structured is that brick and mortar casinos that would like to add online gambling services to their casinos games would have to pay a $200,000 licensing fee for the first year. This would be followed by $100,000 renewal fee every year thereafter, as well as having the profits from online gambling games taxed 20%.
There are those that are opposed to these bills, saying that by legalizing and regulating online gambling within New Jersey the amount of people addicted to gambling will increase. However, to address these concerns, the two bills also have in them that $100,000 each year will be put into programs to prevent gambling addictions and to help those with gambling addictions.
You have to love a bill that wants to legalize online gambling and is still concerning itself with gambling addiction.
Recently California tried to put through a bill that would legalize online gambling in their state, but was met with opposition from tribes in the state. The bill never passed.
New Jersey has a more favorable chance of getting their bills passed because they don’t have any tribes within their state that are recognized by the federal government.
We’ll have to sit back and see how this one plays out. But here’s to hoping that New Jersey can get these bills passed and be the first state to legalize online gambling. Perhaps if the federal government sees states beginning to legalizing online gambling, they’ll work on it themselves.