New Jersey legislators have proposed a bill that would create a commission to study the regulation of Internet gambling in that state.
Assemblyman Anthony Impreveduto introduced the bill, AJR51, with Assemblyman Gary L. Guear Sr. on Dec. 9.
"People would much rather play in a regulated atmosphere than in one that is not regulated."
New Jersey Assembly
During the last session of the New Jersey Assembly, Impreveduto introduced A-568, a bill that would license land-based casinos in New Jersey to offer remote online casino gambling live from gaming hall floors. Since Jan. 23, 2001, the bill has been in the Commerce, Tourism, Gaming and Military and Veterans Affairs Committee.
Impreveduto said the legislation was proposed because Guear, who is chairman of the Tourism and Gaming Committee, wanted to study online gambling more before taking action on any bill to make it legal.
"Certainly to me, the regulation of Internet gaming is extremely important," Impreveduto said. "The original bill, to license and regulate it, to me is the most important because it does remove the aura of people who want to gamble on the Internet from offshore sites. Once we legalize this, many of these offshore sites will in fact go away. People would much rather play in a regulated atmosphere than in one that is not regulated."
The commission to study Internet gambling would have 21 members, including two members of the General Assembly, two members of the Senate, the attorney general, the chairman of the Casino Control Commission, the chairman of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, the chairman of the New Jersey Lottery Commission, the chairman of the Legalized Games of Chance Commission and the chairman of the New Jersey Racing Commission. The governor will also appoint 10 members.
According to the bill, the commission will be charged with conducting a "thorough and comprehensive study of the current status, prevalence and growth of Internet gambling." Additionally, the group will look into how much money is spent on Internet gaming in New Jersey and the rest of the county and analyze the impact of legalized gaming on the existing gaming industries in New Jersey, including racing and land-based casino gambling.
The committee will be required to make recommendations on whether online gaming should be legalized in New Jersey in a final report that is to be published no later than one year after the committee is organized.
While it would seem logical that the bill to organize a study commission would pass before a bill to legalize online gambling would, Impreveduto said nothing can be taken for granted. When asked if the commission bill would likely be passed first, he didn't wager a guess.
"Well, sometimes I wonder," he said. "Given what is going on in Washington, who knows."
Nevertheless, Impreveduto said legalizing and regulating online gambling is the best way to deal with an industry that, due to the borderless nature of the Internet, is not going away.
"To be able to do virtual gaming online was a way that I saw that we could control it, we could stop kids from playing and protect those who can't protect themselves," he said. "And we can certainly draw revenue from it."
To view AJR51, click here.