New Jersey: Online Gambling Mecca?
Legislators in New Jersey are once again just a signature away from being able to offer legal online poker and casinos games.
In late December the New Jersey legislature overwhelmingly passed an Internet gambling bill that could see New Jersey join Nevada in offering legal online gambling to state residents.
The New Jersey bill now just needs the signature of Governor Chris Christie to become law but that may be difficult; he vetoed a very similar bill in late 2011 that also got strong bi-partisan support and easily passed through the legislative process.
Casinos in New Jersey have had a rough go with it, with dwindling numbers of gamblers visiting casinos in Atlantic City and Hurricane Sandy heaping more misery on them with lost revenues in 2012.
While the current bill is nearly identical to the previous one that was vetoed many feel that Christie may give it the okay this time around, with the economy still struggling and no silver lining in sight for the state's casinos and racetracks.
Supporters of Internet gambling in the state see it as a very necessary lifeline for the struggling brick-and-mortat gambling industry: "The fact is, Atlantic City has the potential to become a hub of Internet gaming, which will create more jobs, more revenue for casinos, and generate more funding for critical programs for senior citizens and residents with disabilities."
Estimates vary but many believe that letting the state's 12 casinos in Atlantic City offer online casino and poker games could generate as much as $100-$200 million in new revenues.
While Nevada has given the thumbs up to online poker for state residents, New Jersey plans to offer poker as well as popular online casino games such as craps, blackjack, and slots.
Efforts to pass a federal law to allow for online gambling have largely failed, prompting several states around the U.S. to step up their own efforts in crafting and regulating online gambling.
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