Saturday May 12, 2012 : NEW JERSEY ONLINE GAMBLING BILL SET FOR SENATE VOTE ON MAY 31 (Update)
But amendments to the Assembly version of the bill have triggered speculation
New Jersey state Senator Ray Lesniak has announced that the Senate version of his bill seeking to legalise intrastate online gambling controlled from Atlantic City land casinos will be put before the Senate for a vote on May 31.
The Assembly version of the bill – AB2578 – passed through a key House committee on a 3-1 vote last week but on reading through the proposed measure it is clear that the passage was at the cost of some tough amendments.
Pokerstars in particular will be scrutinising one section which could impact its reported Full Tilt Poker acquisition plans.
Section 37 now includes a proviso that any company that took bets from the United States after December 31, 2006 (when the UIGEA was brought in) will be denied licensing.
The amendment also includes far-reaching prohibitions designed to stop any corporate maneuvering to get around the ban, embracing software, brands and other intellectual property, although – perhaps encouragingly – there is a provision that permits applications for a waiver, albeit subject to strict conditions.
Industry observers say the amendment is almost certain to strengthen support among major land gambling companies that have been showing interest in a legalised online sector through partnerships with experienced companies with a clean post-UIGEA slate like 888.com and Bwin.Party digital entertainment.
However, the other side of that coin is that it could be bad news for Pokerstars and others who continued to service the US player post-UIGEA.
A date for an Assembly vote has yet to be set down.