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Kevin Smith

New Jersey - Three I-Gaming Bills, Limited Possibilities

25 February 2004

A trio of Internet gaming-related bills have been introduced in New Jersey this year, but insiders are unsure if any of them have a legitimate chance of getting passed.

One bill would prohibit online gambling, another would legalize it and the third would set up a commission to study the issue.

All three bills were introduced January 13, the first day of the current legislative session, all of them had been introduced during previous legislative sessions and each saw little or no action. Unfinished bills have to be re-introduced at the start of each two-year legislative session.

Senate Bill 2376, would make Internet gaming conducted by anyone located in the state illegal (regardless of where any other party in the transaction is located). The legislation also includes language making any judgment against a New Jersey bettor obtained in a jurisdiction where Internet gambling is legal unenforceable. Further, it establishes that only the state may sue to recover illegal gambling losses.

The bill was introduced by Sen. Richard Codey (D) in 2003 and again this year by Cody, who became president of the Senate when the new session commenced.

Keith Furlong, deputy director of the Interactive Gaming Council, said the political landscape in New Jersey has changed since last year.

"We don't know why he introduced the bill, but any bill that has his name on it is going to get some serious consideration within the New Jersey legislature," said Furlong, who works out of an office in New Jersey.

In addition to SB 2376, Assemblyman Tony Impreveduto (R) re-introduced a bill that establish a system enabling licensed Atlantic City casinos to operate Internet-based gambling operations, as long as the servers remained in Atlantic City.

The third bill, also familiar to the New Jersey legislature, would establish an Internet gambling study commission within the legislature. The bill, introduced by Assemblyman Joseph Azzolina (D), was passed last year by the Assembly's committee on Tourism and Gaming, but never went before the full Assembly.

All three bills face sizeable roadblocks.

Even with Codey's clout as the Senate president, Internet gambling is a low priority.

New Jersey Gov. James E. McGreevey on Tuesday laid out his proposed budget, complete with $20 million of aid for the horseracing industry to stave off the introduction of VLTs and slots at New Jersey tracks. Atlantic City-based gaming companies are against the introduction of VLTs and slots because they argue it could hurt their business.

"At this point, the I-gaming bills are secondary," Furlong said. "There are a lot of major issues going on with in the gaming and entertainment industry right now; these bills just aren't high on most people's lists."

Naturally, Codey's bill is the most likely to be considered. The extent of his efforts to move the bill, Furlong said, depends on his reason for introducing it.

"He could have introduced it just as a favor to someone or put his name to it just to appease someone. He could have introduced it because this is an issue he is really close to and wants to see it cleared up," Furlong said. "Until we get some of those answers we don't really know how serious of a bill this is just yet."


The Codey Bill
The Azzolina Bill
The Impreveduto Bill

New Jersey - Three I-Gaming Bills, Limited Possibilities is republished from
Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith