n the past few weeks intensity has heightened around the country surrounding the Internet gambling issue. On a federal level, Senator harry Reid is pushing an online poker bill, and on the state level both California and New Jersey have online gambling bills pending. New Jersey took another step on Thursday towards becoming the first state in the country to regulate online gambling.
The New Jersey Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee approved two bills, one that would bring online gambling openly to New Jersey, and another that would legalize sports betting. Assuming the bill passes muster there, Governor Christie will still have to add his signature before the new scheme will be official.
There is a chance that the entire Assembly could vote on the bills by next week. That would put New Jersey ahead of schedule on California in the race to become the first state to partake on online gambling. The two bills, however, do face some legal challenges.
Senators approved the online gambling legislation last month and are now waiting for it to move through the rest of the lawmakers in New Jersey. The bill may create a problem with federal and International online gaming laws.
On a federal level, the online gambling bill would directly contradict the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. States have the right to make their own laws, and there is a chance that they would become exempt from federal laws should they pass the bill.
Internationally, the World Trade Organization may have a problem with the part of the bill that allows New Jersey online casino sites to accept foreign customers. Doing so may be a violation of international trade agreements. Allowing international customers would contravene WTO regulations, making the removal of this amendment a prerequisite for the bill moving forward.
A good chunk of the tax revenue generated from this scheme (us$ 37 million/year for five years) would go directly to the state’s ailing horse industry, so expect stable owners to make horses available to help Paul Revere this bill to the homes of Assembly members.
The sports betting bill would also face a federal challenge. New Jersey is not one of the states that opted to keep their options open back when sports betting was outlawed nationally. The state, however, is contending that since sports betting is allowed in some states, then others should have the right to offer similar services.