New Jersey Looks To Lead Way Into US Online Casino Era
The state of New Jersey already lost out to Nevada once when it comes to the gaming industry, and Senator Raymond Lesniak is hoping to ensure that history does not repeat itself. Lesniak is pushing legislation that could change the face of the online casino industry forever in the US.
On Monday, Sen. Lesniak reasserted his position of pushing through online gambling legislation in January. The hope is that lawmakers will vote on the bill next week, with Governor Chris Christie signing off a few weeks later. Christie believes Atlantic City could become the “Silicon Valley” of Internet gaming.
“That’s ambitious,” said New Jersey state Senator James Whealan, ” but it would be nice to get it done now. Other states are starting to move on this, and most of these companies are overseas. They’re going to set up headquarters somewhere (in the US), and we think Atlantic City is the logical place.”
Unlike the land-based gaming industry in the US, online gaming will be driven by foreign companies. US-based companies such as Wynn Resorts, Caesars Entertainment, and MGM Resorts have already started to partner with foreign companies with existing online platforms.
888 Holdings, and Bwin.party are two companies that have expressed interest in moving into the US market, and others are expected to follow suit, given the amount of revenue that is at stake. With the companies setting up US offices, they would then be privileged to applying for an online license.
Governor Chris Christie will be instrumental in any laws passing this year. Christie vetoed online gambling legislation last year, but has shown a propensity for supporting gambling expansion. At the time of the veto, Christie claimed that the bill was poorly constructed and there were several facets of the legislation he could not approve.
Sen. Lesniak has reworked the bill, addressing some of Christie’s objections. Lesniak also has on his side this time a Department of Justice opinion released on Christmas that reversed the government’s long-standing belief that all online gambling was illegal under the Wire Act. The DoJ opinion asserts that only sports gambling is illegal through telecommunications, leaving the door open for Lesniak and other lawmakers around the country to renew their online gambling push.