New Jersey Senator Lesniak Introduces Broad Online Gaming Bill

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State Senator Raymond Lesniak has been one of the staunchest proponents of online gaming in New Jersey and is already looking to expand the just-burgeoning online gaming industry to further benefit his home state. Last week, he announced the proposal of a new bill to the state legislature that would allow New Jersey to offer licensing and regulatory services to offshore gaming operators. Permits would be given for “Restricted Foreign Internet Wagering,” though they would not be able to offer any type of gaming from their global online gaming sites to US-based customers. All servers and gaming equipment would be located in New Jersey – most likely Atlantic City – and would be open to impromptu inspections, along with all records and account information.

Details of the Bill

Lesniak noted that their current regulatory facilities in places like Gibraltar or the Isle of Man don’t have the “stamp of approval” that New Jersey licensing would offer. Companies would be able to apply for a license for $100,000, and if approved, they would pay a $200,000 fee and $100,000 each year in renewal fees, as well as another $100,000 to be dedicated to problem gambling. Additionally, each company would contribute towards a fund to raise $20 million per year for the first three years, money which would be used to support the horse racing industry in New Jersey.

Sites licensed in New Jersey would have to pay a 10 percent tax on gross gaming revenues from players and a 2.5 percent tax to help with New Jersey development, or they could simply pay an increased rate of 15 percent on all revenue. New Jersey’s economy would benefit greatly from the endeavor. An economist predicted that the licensing of offshore operators could create up to $4.5 billion in revenue and up to 10,000 new jobs.

Potential Hurdles

The bill requires that players outside of the US will need to be verified by geo-location verification processes, similar to those being used in Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey for online gaming. However, glitches in those programs, especially in the early stages of the New Jersey process, may be off-putting to companies who currently don’t have to use those methods for most of their customers.

Pokerfuse reports that Governor Chris Christie may veto the plan and the World Trade Organization may be opposed as well. Lesniak hopes to overcome those issues with further testimony via legislative hearings and push the bill toward Christie’s hands by the middle of next year.

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