It’s official; New Jersey has become the third state in the union to sign into law the legalization of online gaming. This is a perfect addition to the states current legal land based gaming history with Atlantic City Casinos and it wants to lead the way in the virtual world. Now the state has been added to the current list along with Nevada and Delaware, New Jersey and finally has voted to legalize both online poker and casinos. At this point Nevada just allows for online poker.
Initially, Governor Chris Christie wouldn’t sign the bill unless they increased the tax rate from 10% to 15% and then demanded they add a “Sunset” clause to review the law completely in 10 years. His conditional veto requested these adjustments. It then went back to the state Assembly and the Senate where they quickly approved the changes by 68-5 and 35-1 vote. Once it came back to the Governor’s desk, he signed it immediately and it thus became law. As stated in his address, “This was a critical decision, and one that I did not make lightly,” Christie said. “But with the proper regulatory framework and safeguards that I insisted on including in the bill, I am confident that we are offering a responsible yet exciting option that will make Atlantic City more competitive while also bringing financial benefits to New Jersey as a whole.”
Knowing this will prop up the ailing Atlantic City gaming industry, they are eager to become the next “Silicon Valley” of the online gaming industry in the US. Other issues that were considered in the passing of this bill were the safeguards in limiting the risks of gambling addiction, corrupt and improper influence and that state officials must properly disclose representatives or entities who are seeking or actually hold an online gaming license.
It also won’t be cheap for companies who want an online gaming license in the Garden state, as the fees start at $400,000 for an Internet gaming permit and a renewal fee from $150,000 to $250,000. Then there is the compulsive gaming fee for programs that range from $150,000 to $250,000. Just like Nevada there will be a rigorous review process put into place that applicants must pass before they are awarded the permit. In the process of drafting up the legislation, New Jersey for many months was consulting with legal jurisdictions in Europe, including Nevada and Delaware.
Now since the ink has dried on the bill, New Jersey is confident that they can start issuing the first licensed as early as November 16th. This has been confirmed by the state Department of Gaming Enforcement or known as the (DGE) and stated by them, “That is the goal and the division is confident it will meet the deadline.”
That means the first online gaming site will go live by this date. Now the final details of the regulatory body framework will be defined in the coming months, and once that is done the final version will be published in the New Jersey Registry. Then there will be a 60-day public consultation process where the DGE will have to promptly respond to every enquiry and then publish the final version.
There will be two sets of requirements for companies that apply for a license. The company must show good character, honesty and integrity and must adhere to all the requirements of the Casino Control Act. Then there will be a complete review of the software and technology that will be used by the operator. The major work in the Senate and by the Governor has been done and now it will be up to the regulators to meet the deadline and put together a solid legal jurisdiction and framework that will enable New Jersey to be a major online gaming hub for the US marketplace.