New Jersey Online Gambling Bill Clears Legislature
On December 20, 2012 the Senate voted almost unanimously in favor of the bill that would regulate intrastate online gambling in New Jersey. This bill has cleared both the state Senate and Assembly. The final tally was 33 to 3. At the same time, the Senate voted to amend and supplement the existing Casino Control Act to make it compatible with the proposed bill. Earlier in December, the New Jersey House of Assembly had specified its approval for the online gambling bill. The proponents in the Assembly outnumbered the opponents by a margin of almost 2 to 1. The Assembly vote went 48 in favor, 25 against with 3 abstentions.
Assembly DebateThe Assembly debate did take on an interesting flavor. Democrat Vincent Prieto pointed out that almost all activities have drifted to the Internet and have taken advantage of the revenue options offered. He argued that New Jersey’s gaming industry should not be left behind and that the bill had been carefully constructed to safeguard that all required safeguards have been built in. Plus, a portion of the revenues will benefit senior and disabled citizens. Fellow Assemblyman and Democrat, Ruben Ramos argued that this would bring economic growth and job creation for the state.
In Need of Governor’s ApprovalThe bill still has to go in front of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and he has 45 days in which to sign the bill into law or veto it. If he takes no action the bill is automatically accepted and then becomes an act. This hopes not to be a similar situation that took place some two years ago when an intrastate online gambling bill had been passed by the Assembly and the Senate, but had been vetoed by Governor Christie. The assembly does feel confident about the changes they have made. Christie has gone on record stating that he is in favor of this version of the online gambling bill.
Financial WoesSeeing that New Jersey is still recovering from the aftermath of hurricane Sandy the state needs all the help financially that they can get. The online gambling would generate this revenue. Democrat Senator Raymond Lesniak is the main sponsor of this bill and he released a statement that said, “By allowing casinos to tap into the burgeoning trend of Internet wagering, we can put New Jersey at the forefront of this lucrative gaming market and give our casinos the competitive edge they need in the current economic climate.”
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