Sen. Ray Lesniak of the Garden State has announced that he will soon be introducing a bill that will permit people not living in the state to wager at the state’s poker rooms and online casinos. This will likely open the door to player pooling with operators from other states and perhaps also from abroad. This will have a dramatic impact on the business numbers of the online casinos in the state.
The bill will make changes in the server requirements for online gambling operators in order to permit shared player pools with other jurisdictions. In fact, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement had earlier tried to work out a deal with the UK Gaming Commission to share players but it could not be finalized because of the state’s limited server requirements that state that operators offering online poker rooms and casinos have to locate their servers in Atlantic City only. This is so that online gambling could comply with New Jersey’s constitution which states that gambling should be restricted to Atlantic City only. Since UK based gaming operators weren’t interested in moving their serves Stateside, nothing came of the deal.
Lesniak also clarified that his bill would only allow pool sharing with regulated markets in order to protect the interests of customers. Furthermore, he said that his aim was to make the state the Mecca of internet gambling. He intends to create more jobs and generate increased revenues for the state by strengthening this industry.
It is worth pointing out that Sen. Lesniak has an uphill task ahead of him. There is a well established lobby that opposes any attempt to expand the scope of online gambling in the state, or indeed in the country.
2017 isn’t exactly the best year in which to introduce a controversial bill. After all, this is an election year in the state, and not only will lawmakers be busy trying to secure their seats but the state will also be choosing a new governor. Incidentally, Lesniak has announced that he will be retiring from the senate by the time 2017 draws to an end. He had thrown his hat in the ring to become Governor but nothing came of his efforts.
Sen. Lesniak has long been a champion of the online gambling industry having been one of the driving forces behind the bill that legalized the industry in 2013. He is firmly of the opinion than an expanded internet gambling bill will help the state’s finances tremendously. He is also confident that the bill he plans to introduce will get plenty of support from lawmakers in the state.
He had earlier said that he would sponsor a bill that would repeal the state’s ban on sports betting. At present, only the state of Nevada is permitted to offer single-game sports gambling in the United States. However, the US Supreme Court is now hearing New Jersey’s case and the decision is likely to happen only next year. Therefore, there is a good chance that the online gambling industry will be expanded only in 2018 but this victory would permit unregulated sports betting in the state. Therefore, the state’s law will definitely have to be amended in order to permit the NJ Department of Gaming Enforcement to regulate this highly lucrative business.
New Jersey’s online gambling industry has been an unqualified success, having done more than $600 million in business since end-2013. Incidentally, the state has earned a whopping $100 million in taxes during this period. Given the importance of the industry to the Garden State’s exchequer, there is great need for someone to champion its cause once Lesniak retires.