New Jersey could be closer than ever to getting an online poker platform after a bill was released by senators from committee on Thursday. The bill calls for casinos in the state to create online website to allow games such as poker and blackjack to be played via the internet on an intrastate basis.
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If the bill passes successfully, it will make New Jersey the first state to establish an internet gambling platform that is governed by state laws.
It was a highly eventful day for gambling proponents in New Jersey, beginning with the State Wagering and Tourism Committee hearing testimony regarding the proposed bill. It was explained that allowing intrastate online poker in New Jersey would help the state’s budget by providing at least 1,500 jobs and bringing an estimated revenue of $200 million.
The horse racing industry felt it had been dealt a double blow by the support shown for this new bill. Not only will they need to compete with a new form of gambling in the state that threatens their already struggling industry, but their request to allocate special gaming rooms at racetracks across the state where players could gamble online was also turned down.
Eventually, at the end of the session on Thursday, Senator committee members approved the new intrastate online poker bill by 3 to 1.
The decision was lauded by gambling interest groups such as iMEGA, which congratulated the state for being a ‘first mover’. The group said that this was only the beginning for New Jersey, and saw huge potential for the state in terms of revenue, employment and future income. iMEGA Chairman, Joe Brennan, said that if New Jersey managed to attract online gambling operators to locate their headquarters in the state, the sky was the limit.