Internet Gambling One Step Closer To Reality In NJ [AUDIO]
Online gambling in New Jersey heads for a full state Senate vote after a legislative panel approved a bill to allow bets from other states and even other countries via the internet as long as federal and state authorities agree its legal.
Still, the bill faces an array of obstacles, including possible legal challenges, concerns from Governor Chris Christie, and a demand by supporters of horse racing that the state's tracks be allowed to offer Internet gambling as well.
New Jersey has been racing to try to get Internet gambling up and running and stake a claim to leadership in a potential multi-billion dollar industry. The bill would allow bets to be accepted from other states and nations if the state Division of Gaming Enforcement determines it doesn't violate federal laws.
Internet gambling revenue would be taxed at 10 percent, up from the 8 percent casinos pay on regular slot and table games revenue.
New Jersey was poised to become the first state in the nation last year to offer in-state Internet gambling, but Christie vetoed the bill. The governor expressed doubts about its legality and worried about the possible proliferation of "Internet cafes" and back-room betting joints.
But some groups, including horse racing advocates, are opposed to the bill, fearing the racetracks would be left out of the profits.
"Without racing being included in the bill it supports one industry at the expense of another industry" said Tom Luchento, president of the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey.
Officials with the Casino Revenue Fund Advisory Commission testified in favor of the bill, saying that the funds are needed to maintain programs that help senior citizens and the disabled, including the Meals-On-Wheels.
"These funds provide absolute sustenance...people have no other way to get the food."
New Jersey is trying to become the first state to legalize online gaming.