Senate Budget Committee to hear Internet gaming bill on Tuesday

TRENTON – The issues surrounding Internet gambling are expected to resurface in a Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee meeting on Tuesday morning, as the committee will hear testimony and vote on S1565, which would authorize Atlantic City casinos to accept wagers on games via the Internet.

All games played at a casino, including poker, would be offered through the Internet, under the proposed legislation. New Jersey is trying to become the first state to legalize online gaming.

S1565, sponsored by Sen. Ray Lesniak, (D-20), Union, was released by the State Government, Wagering, Tourism, and Historic Preservation Committee on March 5 by a 3-0-2 vote, with two Republican members abstaining.

Gov. Chris Christie vetoed similar legislation in 2011 after it passed both houses, saying there were concerns about the legality of interstate gaming.

That committee amended the bill to permit wagers to be accepted from persons who are outside of New Jersey if the Division of Gaming Enforcement determines that it wouldn’t be inconsistent with federal law. Originally, the legislation stipulated that only gamers in New Jersey could place bets online.

The bill calls for an annual 10 percent tax of gross revenues to be paid into a casino revenue fund.

S1565 received support from representatives in the gaming industry at the March hearing, but was opposed by members of the horse racing industry who would miss out on the potential boom for casinos.

Senate Budget Committee to hear Internet gaming bill on Tuesday