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Anne Lindner

NJ Committee Approves Net Gaming Commission

9 January 2003

The New Jersey Assembly's Tourism and Gaming Committee today unanimously passed a bill that would establish a 21-person commission to study the feasibility of making online gambling legal in the state.

Three people testified at the hearing in which the bill was passed: Assemblyman Anthony Impreveduto, who along with committee chairman Gary L. Guear introduced the bill Dec. 9; Frank Catania of the gaming consultancy Catania Consulting Group; and Eugene Christiansen of Christiansen Capital Advisors.

The bill will now go to a vote of the full New Jersey Assembly before going to a vote of the Senate.

Catania, who also spoke on behalf of the Interactive Gaming Council, said he believes the full Assembly will act on the bill soon.

The bill calls for the commission to produce a thorough and comprehensive study of the current status and growth of Internet gambling in the state and the rest of the country. The commission will also analyze the impact of online gaming on the existing gaming industries in New Jersey.

The commission will be required to make recommendations on whether online gambling should be legalized in New Jersey in a final report that will be made available one year after the committee is organized.

Catania said many of the assemblymen present at the hearing seemed in favor of forming the commission.

"I didn't hear any negative comments," he said. "Most were all positive. They all thought this was a great idea to move ahead on."

Catania also said that during the course of the hearing, the director of the Division of Gaming Enforcement sent a message to the committee that the division would be able to regulate Internet gambling should it be made legal in the state.

Keith Furlong, deputy director of the Interactive Gaming Council, said some of the elected representatives present were concerned that online gambling would encroach on the turf of the state's land-based industry.

"The main concern with some of the assemblymen is that they want to not be behind the curve with regard to new technologies and gaming, but that being said, they don't want to lose what they have in South Jersey," Furlong said. "The casino industry is the biggest industry in South Jersey, so that was mentioned a few times."

Furlong said overall the hearing represents the state moving in a positive direction regarding online gambling.

"The IGC applauds the efforts of Chairman Guear and Assemblyman Impreveduto," he said. "This is a pressing issue, and the commission would be very timely. It's very insightful on their part."

NJ Committee Approves Net Gaming Commission is republished from
Anne Lindner
Anne Lindner