Bill A2578 passed the New Jersey Assembly on Monday, which would authorize casinos in Atlantic City to offer a full slate of internet gambling to state residents. The measure passed by a tally of 48-24 with 4 abstentions.
The next step for the bill will be a vote in the State Senate scheduled for Thursday.
State Senator Raymond Lesniak—the state’s leading online gambling proponent—told Chris Krafcik of Gambling Compliance that he was “confident” there is enough support in the Senate to pass online gambling legislation.
If successful in the Senate, it will be presented to Governor Chris Christie to sign into law.
Christie vetoed similar legislation in 2011. However, that was before the US Department of Justice revised its opinion that it no longer considers online gaming to be in violation of the Wire Act. Supporters of the bill hope this go around will be different.
Earlier this year, in reference to online gaming, Christie remarked, “I think New Jersey should be in that business. I think we should be an epicenter for that business.”
Online gaming legislation was then promptly reintroduced, but even though the Governor’s staff worked closely with Senator Lesniak to craft a bill to the Governor liking, efforts to pass online gaming legislation earlier this year stalled.
Since then Delaware has legalized online gaming, federal efforts to pass online gaming legislation have failed and Nevada continues to move closer to launching its online poker program—now expected in early 2013.
Two weeks ago, a New Jersey Assembly Committee revised and reintroduced A2578. One change was the removal of language that sought to ban companies and their assets from entering the market if those companies offered online wagers to US residents after December 31, 2006.
Last week, it was learned that PokerStars is in “advanced talks” to purchase an Atlantic City casino which would presumably allow them to enter the online poker market upon the passage of legislation.