New Jersey Bill Embraces Foreign Gaming Operators

New Jersey foreign operators Senator Ray Lesniak

New Jersey State Senator Ray Lesniak has gotten a bill initial approvals to let foreign gaming operators work out of a New Jersey base. (Image: innovategaming)

Could the Garden State be on its way to becoming to online gambling what New York is to fashion and what California is to the movie industry? The answer could very possibly be “yes,” with the recent initial approval of  a new state bill – known as S9890, and being primarily sponsored by State Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Union) – who says that the proposal would stimulate growth and could potentially make New Jersey the “Silicon Valley of high-tech gaming.”

The catch? In order to qualify, those businesses would have to relocate their headquarters to New Jersey. Oh, and one more small issue: they won’t be able to take any bets from New Jersey gamblers whatsoever. Think of it as a kind of reverse outsourcing, where for once, the US gets the jobs and the taxes, and then ships everything overseas.

Under the legislation, New Jersey would be able to issue gaming licenses to companies that offer online wagering to customers in foreign countries, provided they satisfy state regulatory standards.

Halfway There

It was passed unanimously this week by the New Jersey State Senate Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee. Next stop: the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

“This could help make New Jersey the leader in online gaming, across the country and around the world,” said Lesniak. “…We should take advantage of this dynamic opportunity for a business sector with enormous growth potential. We need to lay the foundation for intrastate [sic] and international gaming now. We shouldn’t allow these opportunities to be exclusively overseas in other countries.”

A Digital Destination

Bill co-sponsor Sen. Jim Whelan (D-Atlantic City) believes that the directive will place Atlantic City and New Jersey overall in a position to receive the “lion’s share” of potential online gaming revenue.

“International Internet gaming is already taking place,” he said. “This gives Atlantic City the opportunity to build and expand on its casino business. We have the stability and security of a regulated marketplace, we have an educated workforce and a high-tech infrastructure. We can make New Jersey and Atlantic City a digital destination for Internet gaming.”

Analysis by consulting firm Econsult Solutions suggests the legislation could generate $5 billion to $8 billion a year in revenue and produce 11,000 to 16,000 jobs. A 15 percent revenue tax – which matches what established sites are paying now for online privileges in New Jersey – would supply the state that comfortable additional revenue source.

Once approved by New Jersey’s Division of Gaming Enforcement, these online operators – who would have to align their servers with land-based Atlantic City operators, just like existing Internet sites do – could then operate internationally. New Jersey would be required to interface on licensing legalities with foreign jurisdictions before approvals would be finalized, however.

Philip Conneller
Written by
Philip Conneller
As part of the team that launched Bluff Magazine back in 2004, and then as Editor of Bluff Europe, Philip Conneller has (probably) written thousands of articles about poker and has travelled the globe interviewing the greatest players in the world, not to mention some of the sexiest celebrities known to man in some of the world’s sexiest destinations. The highlight of his career, however, was asking Phil Ivey (as a joke) how to play jacks, and emerging none-the-wiser. Philip once won $20,000 with 7-2 offsuit. He has been told off for unwittingly playing Elton John’s piano on two separate occasions, on different sides of the Atlantic Ocean. He became a writer because he is a lousy pianist. He lives in London where he spends his time agonizing about Arsenal football club, yet in Wenger he trusts.

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