New Jersey Wants a Piece of Online Gambling's Action

A Bill Waiting for Governor Christie's Signature Legalizes Web Betting by NJ Residents

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In an effort to close New Jersey's yawning budget deficit of more than $10 billion, legislators have passed a bill that would legalize online gambling based out of Atlantic City's 11 casinos on the New Jersey shore. Fox News reports that more than $25 billion is bet each year on websites run offshore, with $6 billion of that attributed to United States residents, despite a federal law forbidding it.

Under the proposed law players would have to prove that they are New Jersey residents prior to gambling online legally. The money would then be collected by the casinos, who in turn pay taxes to the state of New Jersey. Potential profits for the casinos could be more than $300 million each year, while New Jersey could collect $28 million.

More importantly, opening up a new business opportunity could mean hundreds or even thousands of new jobs at a time when unemployment concerns have continued to linger in the Garden State.

Caeser's Entertainment, a national gaming company with casinos in New Jersey as well as Las Vegas, Nevada and other states, hopes that this is a sign that the rest of the country will want to ante up for online gaming, though concerns about oversight within and outside of the United States remain.

Jan Jones Blackhurst, Caeser's senior vice president of corporate communications and government relations pointed out, "Even if all the states move to pass laws, you still have not fixed the problem that you have a huge industry operating outside U.S. law with no consumer protections or oversight."

Hopefully the presence of legalized online gaming with all of the consumer protections and oversight that the heavily regulated industry currently has in place will make it an attractive alternative to offshore online gambling. After all, it is one thing to gamble on a game that you know is fair, while it is another to gamble on playing a game that may be fixed or, worse, one that is hosted by a company with no intentions of ever paying out the monies won by its players.

Even if the law is passed however, it remains to be seen if it will be overridden by federal law, or if it could help New Jersey to differentiate itself amongst the rest of the country.

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