Bill Could Open Up New Jersey Online Gambling Market to the World

A bill introduced in the New Jersey legislature by Senator Ray Lesniak (l.) would Atlantic City-based online gambling sites to accept bets from other states and countries. Proponents hope the bill would allow the state to tap into the $30 Billion global online gambling market.

A new bill to expand Atlantic City’s online gambling market to other states and other countries has been introduced in the New Jersey state Legislature.

The bill was introduced by State Senators Raymond Lesniak—one of the state’s biggest supporters of online gambling—and James Whelan, Atlantic City’s state senator. Both are Democrats.

The bill would allow New Jersey to enter into reciprocal agreements with other states or countries where Internet gambling is legal. Players in countries and states that enter into an agreement would have access to the 15 gambling websites now run through Atlantic City casinos.

New Jersey’s current law requires players to be physically located in New Jersey—verified by geolocation software—to play.

Lesniak and Whelan want to see Atlantic City tap into the global gaming market.

“This opens up the worldwide market to us, the $30 billion Big Kahuna,” Lesniak told the Associated Press.

The bill also requires payment processors to get a casino industry service license, requiring background and other checks, to help persuade financial institutions to allow credit cards to be used more easily in online gambling, according to the AP.

Online gambling in New Jersey has been hampered since its November launch by the refusal of many banks and credit card issuers to honor online gambling transactions.

Lesniak said the added scrutiny and regulation of payment processors should help make credit card issuers more willing to allow their use in Internet gambling.

Sites will also be required to display detailed records of players’ accounts and activities, including wins and losses, how much time was spent playing at the site and money spent on other items not necessarily linked to gambling.

The bill is a re-introduction of a previous bill, but has had any mention of sports betting—currently illegal under federal law—removed. New Jersey has been trying to reverse the sports betting ban in the courts, but so far has not been successful.

Lesniak also said when he first introduced the bill that federal law would not allow international players to be in the same player pool as New Jersey players.

Compacts with other states, however, are less clear as they are unprecedented. New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware are the only three states to allow internet gaming and officials in all three have said they are exploring compacts with other states to expand player pools.

The bill also allows New Jersey to tax revenue from other jurisdictions, but provides tax credits if those jurisdictions also apply taxes, according to published reports.