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New Jersey Next State to Legalize Online Poker?

by Adam Sowell, Rakeback.com Poker News Staff Writer

After watching the state of Nevada approve a bill legalizing internet poker within its state lines, State Senator Raymond Lesniak revised his recently rejected bill and resubmitted it with hopes of bringing internet poker and gaming to Atlantic City.

The bill, originally rejected in March of 2011, was quickly edited by removing the horse-racing purse subsidies that were believed to be holding it back. In addition, restrictions were placed to keep all gambling site servers in Atlantic City, and to ensure that only the 11 local casinos can offer internet gaming in New Jersey.

Players will have to be at least 21 years old, and they must set up online accounts through the casinos in order to participate. Revenue from internet gaming will be taxed 2% higher than the typical 8% that brick and mortar casinos currently pay. The new bill also states that a yearly donation of $100,000 must be made to programs designed to help gambling addicts.

Lesniak addressed his concerns about how Nevada had monopolized the sports betting market when Atlantic City was left out in the past. This time he wants a fair opportunity with the internet poker market as he believes New Jersey could be the US leader in the online gaming industry.

If Republican Gov. Chris Christie accepts the changes, Atlantic City casinos could be hosting their own internet gambling websites within 6 months.

While the financial gains of bringing internet gambling to Atlantic City remain somewhat unpredictable at this point, Lesniak believes it could make a phenomenal economic impact on the community. He was recently quoted as saying that Atlantic City could be the Silicon Valley of internet gaming. He went on to state that this type of bill could bring billions of dollars in revenue to the city alongside thousands of jobs for locals.

Former Atlantic City mayor and current chair of the Senate’s Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation committee, James Whelan, realizes that other states are starting to move on this and would like to get this bill approved as soon as possible. If everything is cleared by his group and its counterpart in the General Assembly, then legislators will vote next Monday and a decision could be made as soon as January 9th.

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