New Jersey Set to Legalize Online Gambling

The US state of New Jersey has moved tantalisingly close towards legalising online gambling igniting the imagination of the Internet gaming world and sending stock prices soaring.

Shares in major Internet gambling companies like Bwin.Party and 888 Holdings shot up after NJ governor Chris Christie announced on Thursday that he would conditionally veto bill 2578 to legalise web-based gaming in the garden state.

While the state has yet to receive a green light, Christie is now widely expected to approve the bill as long as tax revenues are increased, it is initially only approved for 10 years and more money is set aside to help problem gamblers.

If it does indeed pass, New Jersey will become only the third American state to allow citizens to gamble via the Internet after Nevada and Delaware.

Internet gaming was rife in the US in the early 2000s, but in 2006 the United States Congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act which essentially made it illegal for US Citizens to gamble online.

However, it included a caveat that individual states can decide to allow gambling on the Internet as long as it kept within their state.

Revitalising Atlantic City

According to the bill, those in New Jersey will be able to play poker, roulette, baccarat, blackjack, craps, big six wheel, slot machines, mini baccarat, red dog, pai gow and sic bo online.

Christie said he hoped that Internet gaming could help revitalize the famous Atlantic City casino complexes, which have lost much business in recent years.

“This bill represents an important policy decision for the residents of New Jersey, and a historic opportunity to continue the State’s leadership as a premiere destination for tourism and entertainment,” Christie said.

“Such a significant step must be carefully considered, balancing the benefits of job creation, economic development, and the continued revitalization of Atlantic City against the risks of addiction, corruption and improper influence. It is my duty as Governor to make these determinations, always mindful of my duty to guarantee the continued welfare of our families, our neighbors, and the future generations who will call our State home.”

A boost to the New Jersey community

Atlantic City has become more prominent in recent years with the broadcast of popular television show Boardwalk Empire which portrays the city in its early 20th century heyday.

According to the bill, the online operations will only be run by licensed casinos, with the servers being based in the casinos themselves.

The news was welcomed by Tony Rodio, President of the Casino Association of New Jersey.

“We are grateful for Governor Christie’s support for the implementation of internet gaming in Atlantic City and are carefully reviewing the Governor’s conditional veto statement,” he said.

“ Our industry believes that internet gaming is essential to the continued stabilization, development and success of Atlantic City through the generation of meaningful revenue, jobs and resultant tax revenues – objectives the Governor has always facilitated. It is extremely important to the industry that the Governor’s conditional veto statement focused on insuring that the authorizing legislation and licensing process requires that the highest levels of integrity and transparency are maintained for individuals and companies who desire to establish or participate in internet gaming operations in New Jersey.”

While American casino companies will run the online gaming operations, they are expected to rely on technology developed by European companies such as Bwin.Party and 888, who have developed expertise in the field.

Stock prices rose sharply on Friday, with 888 shares up 15 per cent and by 16 per cent.

Click here to read the Official Press Release

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About the author
Daniel Hattem
From Amsterdam, Netherlands, Daniel Hattem is a qualified journalist who has worked in both media and non-media roles...

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