Too often acts of legislative or administrative bodies don't reveal the effects, the numbers that are changed by the acts themselves. New Jersey's recent cease and desist orders to Internet signal suppliers like Youbet.com, Trackpower and winticket.com and now to out-of-state telephone account providers like Philadelphia Park's Phonebet have consequences, and Hal Handel, Philadelphia Park's CEO, told Associated Press what the Jersey edict meant to Phonebet.
He said it handled at least $10 million a year in telephone account wagering from New Jersey customers, out of a total handle of more than $500 million from on-track and off-track wagering.
The New Jersey Racing Commission took its actions after the state's attorney general said such betting was illegal under present New Jersey law and federal law.
Handel warned that New Jersey's actions could have unforeseen consequences. Noting that New Jersey derives some revenue when New Jersey residents bet with phone accounts, at least on races at in-state tracks, he said that a ban on those bets "will really do nothing but drive some of the bigger customers offshore, and if they go offshore we're not going to see them again."
In a related development, New Jersey Democratic Assemblyman Anthony Impreveduto today introduced a bill that would legalize Internet betting sites for businesses that have state-issued gaming licenses.