Friday November 22 ,2013 : NEW JERSEY LEGISLATOR WANTS FOREIGN ONLINE GAMBLING ACTION
Pro-internet gambling senator Lesniak proposes a new state law with wide implications.
The widespread speculation that New Jersey Senator Ray Lesniak's press conference Thursday would be about a new law allowing foreign online gambling companies to be licensed and regulated in New Jersey was pretty much on the mark.
In a morning press conference Senator Lesniak unveiled plans to introduce a bill in the state legislature that would open up New Jersey's nascent internet gaming market to online gambling fans around the world.
The Lesniak proposal seeks to authorise the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement to grant licenses to companies offering online wagering and casino games to punters in foreign countries.
The payoff would be a 15 percent tax on their winnings, plus payments into a fund to raise $20 million a year for three years for New Jersey's struggling horse racing industry.
Sen. Lesniak said foreign companies could set up servers in New Jersey but would have to exclude American players in terms of current laws.
He claimed that many overseas gambling companies are eager to submit to New Jersey's regulations and receive the stamp of approval for their operations that such oversight would confer.
"This could make New Jersey the leader in online gaming," Lesniak told media representatives. "We are well-positioned to take advantage of a dynamic opportunity to be at the hub of a new business sector with the potential for economic growth and job creation.
"Internet gaming is a worldwide industry. There's no reason why we shouldn't be a part of it."
Current state laws on online gambling confine the activity within the borders of the Garden State, with operators based at land casinos in Atlantic City.
Under the Lesniak bill, the state's new internet regulatory program would be extended to foreign countries outside the borders of the United States, conditional on those countries reaching regulatory agreements with the state of New Jersey.
The DGE would enforce the regulations to ensure compliance with the state's high standards.
Adam Ozimek, a senior economist and director of research at Philadelphia-based Econsult Solutions, supported Lesniak's initiative, saying that it has the potential to add between 4,700 and 7,900 new jobs and generate $2.2 billion to $3.8 billion in fresh revenue.
Lesniak told the Associated Press news agency that he didn't know if New Jersey governor Chris Christie would support the initiative, and observed that while the federal Department of Justice should have no problem with it in jurisdictional terms, he imagined the World Trade Organisation might….a reference to the United States' long-running dispute with Antigua and Barbuda over America's discriminatory bans on online gambling.
The New Jersey senator dismissed recent reports on land casino magnate Sheldon Adelson's well-funded bid to ban online gambling at federal level (see previous InfoPowa reports), saying the casino owner's views on the subject were of little interest to him.
He also observed that the US National Football League had expanded its franchise to the United Kingdom, where it hosts several games a year, and compared this to his own initiative; in effect saying what was good for the goose is good for the gander.