Internet Gaming Coming to New Jersey

ATLANTIC CITY, NEW JERSEY — On Tuesday, Feb. 26, the New Jersey Senate made history by voting 35-1 to allow Atlantic City casinos to legally offer Internet gambling to “consumers throughout the state” of New Jersey.

The vote concurs with N.J. Gov. Chris Christie’s recent recommendations for the legislation (A-2578/S-1565).

The bill’s prime sponsors Senators Raymond J. Lesniak, (D-Union), and Jim Whelan, (D-Atlantic), each issued the following statements today on the measure that now goes back to the Governor:

Senator Lesniak:

“Internet gaming is a significant accomplishment that will generate lasting economic benefits for the casinos, for Atlantic City and for the State of New Jersey. It will provide immediate benefits by extending a financial lifeline to the casinos that have been struggling with gaming losses in recent years, preventing some from closing their doors and allowing their workers to keep their jobs. It will be a boost for Atlantic City and for the state, generating new economic opportunities and new jobs for years to come.

“Online gaming can bring visitors back to Atlantic City and customers back to our casinos.  An analysis by Wells Fargo Securities determined that Internet gaming would attract more visitors to the casinos, create more jobs and generate up to $1.5 billion in new revenue. Another study by Econsult says that New Jersey casinos would win back customers lost to competition from other states and that a new pool of customers would be drawn to Atlantic City. This will help restore financial stability and drive future growth.

“By capitalizing on this opportunity we are giving Atlantic City casinos the opportunity to be the ‘Silicon Valley of internet gaming’ and we are positioning them to be the hub of future expansion into other states. We can build on this to make sure that New Jersey is a leader in the gaming industry, that we continue to grow and add jobs and, at the same time, generate funding for the important services for seniors and the disabled that are supported by Atlantic City gaming.”

Senator Whelan:

“The New Jersey gaming industry, a vital part of Atlantic City’s economy, has taken heavy hits over the past few years as neighboring states have increasingly competed in the market. An innovative approach to wagering is essential to ensure that New Jersey’s gaming industry continues to grow and thrive and to protect the thousands of New Jersey jobs tied to the industry.

“Online gaming could be a real shot in the arm for Atlantic City by bringing thousands of high-tech jobs into the region and billions of dollars in revenue. With today’s approval of the Governor’s recommendations we are one step closer to ensuring the long-term stability of Atlantic City and gaming throughout the state.”

New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney “praised the final passage today of S1565,” according to a relese to the media, which adds: “The bill, sponsored by Senators Raymond J. Lesniak (D-Union) and Jim Whelan (D-Atlantic), will help bring jobs and much needed revenue to the state and will play a crucial role in the revitalization of Atlantic City.”

Sweeney said: “I want to thank Senators Lesniak and Whelan for their tireless advocacy on Internet gaming.  Their work will ensure that New Jersey remains ahead of the curve on this issue.  It will also help bring jobs to a state that has seen decades’ high unemployment and stagnant economic growth.”

He added:  “New Jersey must maintain its excellent reputation as one of the most stringent regulators of gaming activities in the world. [In] light of what has occurred with Revel and the DGE’s blatant mishandling of that entire situation, it is my hope that the Attorney General’s office will keep a watchful eye over this process.  The people of New Jersey are counting on them to adequately oversee the implementation of this new law.”

Meanwhile, Gov. Christie released the following statement:

“I am pleased to say that today I signed New Jersey’s Internet Gaming Bill, opening the way for new opportunity to bolster our efforts to continue the revival of Atlantic City, its casinos and entertainment offerings. This was a critical decision, and one that I did not make lightly. But with the proper regulatory framework and safeguards that I insisted on including in the bill, I am confident that we are offering a responsible yet exciting option that will make Atlantic City more competitive while also bringing financial benefits to New Jersey as a whole. I want to thank the sponsors for working quickly to include my recommendations to improve the bill.”

RELATED: Christie Backing Off Internet Gambling?

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