Fate of Online Gambling Bill Still Undetermined in New Jersey

By Debra SaundersGoogle

The fate of online casino games in the state of New Jersey is still undetermined after a state Senate committee approved an updated bill, but an Assembly committee failed to vote following the hearing. The bill was proposed by Senator Ray Lesniak and would allow residents of NJ to play online poker from within the state against other residents.

The Legislature passed bills last year that would legalize online casino games but Governor Chris Christie vetoed the measures last March, citing “legal and constitutional concerns.”

However, Christie’s concerns were assuaged by the Department of Justice who clarified the federal Wire Act of 1961, stipulating that it only applied to illegal online sports betting.In reference to online poker, Governor Christie declared a week later, “New Jersey should be in that business.” He said he was looking forward to working with Senator Lesniak, the issue’s leading advocate, to come to an agreement.

In reaction to the recent developments, Governor Christie, stated that that he was waiting for direction from his state Attorney General’s office on whether residents would have to vote on the issue in a November referendum before he would sign an online gaming bill.

Assemblyman John Burzichelli, vice chairman of the Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee, stated that the committee was going along “two tracks,” depending on whether a referendum would be held. He continued, “We want to establish a clear legislative record to see if we need to go to the voters.” The committee will meet again next week to discuss the state Constitution with a legal expert.

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