Senator Raymond Lesniak, the man behind many of the recent attempts to legalize online gambling within the state of New Jersey, is at it again. With the Department of Justice altering its position on the Wire Act of 1961, the longtime Democrat now plans to reintroduce his S490 internet gaming legislation.
As currently written, Lesniak’s proposal would allow casinos based in Atlantic City to offer online gambling to New Jersey residents, providing that certain conditions are met. For one, the physical servers and computers used to power such services must be contained within the property. This would eliminate the need for offshore banking hassles while allowing the local government to keep an eye on things. Anyone partaking in the proposed online gambling services must meat two criteria – They must be at least 21 years of age, and they must be physically present in New Jersey while using the state’s gaming system.
As many will recall, Lesniak’s original proposal would have legalized certain elements of online gambling within the borders of his state. After passing muster in the rest of the state’s legislature, the bill made it all the way to the desk of Governor Chris Christie.
Unfortunately, that’s where things came to a halt. The Governor vetoed the bill, citing discomfort with some of the language found therein. Specifically, there was concern surrounding the lack of provisions to prohibit online gambling in bars, internet cafes, and other such areas.
In order to address these concerns, Senator Lesniak has added wording which would levy a fine of $1,000 per player on anyone running an unauthorized betting parlor. Those who provided advertisement for such ventures would also face consequences, including fines of up to $10,000.
The Senator has also included several nods to the horseracing industry. According to iGaming Business, the bill would call for the reinstatement of two-thirds of the subsidies paid by casinos to the state’s race tracks over the past year. However, those casinos who obtain a state poker license would be required to pay $20 million to the horseracing industry over each of the next three years. This, it is believed, would help fatten the purses of the the scheduled events.
Lastly, the bill calls for online gambling revenues to be taxed at a rate of ten percent, up from the current figure of eight percent used to tax traditional casino earnings. There is also a provision which lays aside $100,000 each year, all of which is to fund programs aimed at treating compulsive gambling.
“We can be the Silicon Valley of Internet gaming,” Lesniak told the Associated Press. “It’s the wave of the future. It’s going to come and we can be in the lead on it.”