NJ Lawmakers Pass Online Gambling Bill

Lawmakers agree to changes demanded by Gov. Christie

The New Jersey State Assembly and the Senate approved a bill that will legalize Internet gambling.

The lawmakers agreed Tuesday to changes demanded by Gov. Chris Christie, who could sign it by day's end.

The changes include a 10-year trial period and higher taxes on casinos' online winnings.

Patrons would set up online accounts with one or more Atlantic City casinos, which would use special software to verify a player's age. Once the program is operational, which could take six months to a year, gamblers could play any game now offered in Atlantic City casinos, including electronic versions of slots and table games.

"I think it's a good idea," said Bob Clarke of Cresskill, New Jersey. "People are going to gamble anyway. Why not make it easier for them to do so?"

Supporters of the bill believe Internet gambling could create hundreds of millions of dollars in added revenue.

"I'm hoping that the jolt will really give Atlantic City the lift that it needs right now," said Darlene Monzo, the Senior V.P. of marketing for Revel.

Revel is set to file for bankruptcy protection next month.

"I think Internet gaming is going to bring a new market to Revel and gaming in general," said Monzo. "A market that maybe hasn't come into the casinos."

The Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey is concerned however.

"For those at risk of addiction, the impact may be devastating," said Donald Weinbaum of the Council.

Online gambling is currently legalized in Delaware and Nevada.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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