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Breaking: New Jersey Senate Passes Online Gambling Bill, Goes To Governor

Legalization Could Lead To PokerStars Re-Entry Into U.S.



New Jersey’s 40-seat Senate approved a bill during a Thursday session that would allow intrastate online gambling. It now goes to the governor for possible signature.

Among those who voted, 33 were in favor, while three were against the plan. The legislation has been speedily pushed through the legislature before the end of 2012. The Assembly approved the bill on Monday, after the proposal sat inactive since the summer.

The games would be run from casino companies doing business in Atlantic City. The gambling industry there has been on the steep decline since around 2006.

“This will help replenish the casino revenue fund,” Sen. Ray Lesniak, a sponsor of the bill, testified Thursday. He added that money from the fund goes to some social services.

Via hearing live video feed

“This is just the first step. Other states will want to get in on our action,” Lesniak continued.

He hopes Atlantic City will be the “Silicon Valley” for the industry.

Lesniak and other backers of the bill were asked questions regarding the proposed 10-percent tax rate on Internet gambling revenues. Lesniak said he wants to stay competitive with Nevada, which has a rate of under seven percent. Sen. Jim Whelan chimed in on the tax issue by saying that Internet gambling is a global industry.

“If we want these Internet gaming companies to come here, we have to have a tax rate that is competitive and we think this will accomplish that,” Whelan said.

It’s unclear whether New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will OK the legislation and make it law. He vetoed a similar proposal in 2011, but that was before the federal government eased its stance on intrastate online gambling. Nevada and Delaware are the only other states in the county with legal web gambling, though the Silver State has focused on poker.

Lesniak told Card Player that online gambling could help recovery from Hurricane Sandy.

If online gambling is legalized, PokerStars could have its spot for re-entry into the American market. The firm is looking at buying a casino in Atlantic City.