When the United States federal government enacted legislation that severely limited online gambling for US players, many online casinos were made off limits. Financial institutions were barred from conducting transactions with known online casinos, and US players were left in the lurch with very few options. However, the State of New Jersey took a major step this week in making online gaming a reality once again for citizens living within state borders.
In an overwhelming vote earlier this week by the New Jersey state legislature, a bill was passed that would allow brick and mortar casinos operating within the state of New Jersey to legally open online gaming casinos, and online gamblers living within state borders would have the opportunity to legally play online.
The vote was also passed easily by the New Jersey State Senate, and the bill is now sitting on the desk of Governor Chris Christie, who has 45 days to either veto the bill or sign it into law. If no action is taken by the governor within 45 days, the bill automatically goes into law.
The bill is seen a major plus for two main reasons. First, the state’s brick and mortar casinos, especially in the Atlantic City area, has seen a significant decline in revenues, as bordering states have opened their own brick and mortar casinos and has steadily eaten into Atlantic City’s casino profits. Allowing online gaming would significantly boost revenues and put Atlantic City casinos back on the map again in terms of popularity. It was reported by Bloomberg News that Atlantic City casinos saw a decline in revenues of 9.6 percent last year, the second largest yearly decline in history.
The second reason is the revenues that the state itself would realize. It is estimated that $100 million dollars would be added to state coffers through an eight percent tax that would be imposed on each state online casino. With the state struggling with its budget, and first-term Governor Christie’s desire to balance the state budget, the new source of revenue would be a huge shot in the arm for the state.
The overall thinking is that if New Jersey is successful with its online gaming model and software applications, other states would soon follow suit.
The biggest question mark about the approval legislation of online gaming in New Jersey is how it will affect current federal regulations limiting financial institutions from conducting transactions with online gaming sites. There could definitely be repercussions in terms of legal issues. As yet, no one from the federal government has responded to the state approved legislation.
Another plus that is being seen with the state approval of online gaming is that if and when other states pass similar legislation, it could produce cooperation between states in terms of extra bonuses and jackpots, similar to what is seen now in the lottery industry, with MegaMillions and PowerBall offered in many states with higher jackpots as a result.
While there is no guarantee that the federal government will change laws governing online gaming anytime in the near future, the future is now in New Jersey.