On June 18, 2012, the New Jersey State Assembly’s Appropriations Committee moved forward a bill that would authorize internet gaming at Atlantic City casinos. The bill, which has been making its way through various committees in the State legislature, provides that all authorized casino games, including poker, may be offered through internet gaming, to players within New Jersey. So as to comport with the recent U.S. Department of Justice opinion and the federal Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, the N.J. bill provides that to participate in internet gaming, a player must be physically present in New Jersey whenever a wager is placed, The bill does, however, provide that should the N.J. Division of Gaming Enforcement determine that wagers may be accepted from players outside of New Jersey, the legislation will allow such wagers. This provision gives the legislation the flexibility to expand the potential player base should there be a change in current federal law which currently would limit prospective internet wagering to intra-state based wagering.
The New Jersey Legislature took another step towards legalizing online gaming in New Jersey. On May 10, 2012, the New Jersey Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee introduced amendments to the prospective internet gaming legislation which was recently passed by a State Senate committee. The amendments provide additional clarity with respect to the licensing of prospective internet gaming service providers. The proposal also increases the tax rate on internet gaming revenue and provides additional safeguards to keep out dubious internet gaming companies that have facilitated what the U.S. government considers to be illegal wagering from U.S. residents.
The Wall Street Journal reported on April 25, 2012, that U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, (D) Nevada, and Sen. Jon Kyl, (R)-Arizona. are preparing legislation which would legalize online poker but outlaw many other forms of online gambling, including the type of internet wagering currently being contemplated by states such as New Jersey, Nevada and California.
The Journal reported that the federal legislation being drafted is “rattling state governments, even though few details have been made public.” The draft legislation purportedly would not only create a federally controlled internet based wagering system for online poker, but it will prohibit individual states from allowing many other forms of online gambling.