By Ian Bush
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J (CBS) – Last month, the federal government opened the door for states to allow online gambling. For some, it is now a race to cash in on the tax dollar windfall. If one lawmaker gets his way, New Jersey would be the first to legalize Internet betting.
“It means hundreds of millions of dollars of revenues for Atlantic City,” said State Senator Ray Lesniak. “It’s something that we should take advantage of and try to capture.”
The lawmaker said the city could really use a few cards in its favor thanks to competition from Pennsylvania, Delaware and New York.
“The state that has a brand name established in the gaming market will be better positioned to capture the entire market when it ultimately opens up throughout the country and indeed internationally,” he said.
Last spring, Chris Christie turned down a similar bill, but Lesniak said he has addressed the governor’s concerns in this piece of legislation. The internet betting would be based in Atlantic City, and only in-state gamblers, 21 and over, would be able to set up accounts. The online take would be taxed at 10 percent; higher than in traditional gaming houses.
Those running or advertising illegal online gambling would be fined. Bettors would also have to be 21 or older and live in the Garden State.
However, another state is already making moves and the North Jersey Democrat said it would be best to beat them to the punch.
“In addition to the federal government making clear that we have the legal authority to do this, the state of Nevada is moving ahead very aggressively to set up its own internet gaming system. We don’t want to be left behind,” Lesniak said.
Lesniak is aiming to push the bill through the legislature and get it to the governor’s desk by next week.