NJ General Assembly Issue Joint Resolution to Save iGaming

by Kyle Miller

NJ State House - General Assembly ChamberNew Jersey General Assembly working to see President Trump keep online gaming as-is.

In the United States, the online gaming industry seems to be growing. While Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware are the only states that currently offer legalized and regulated casino and/or poker gaming, other states have shown interest, even passing legislation to be able to offer such gaming options. The most recent change in presidency and certain appointments within the government have made those in the gambling industry very nervous, especially lawmakers of New Jersey.

Don’t Take Away Our iGaming

Lawmakers in states that offer online gaming as well as operators of the option are quite nervous about what could happen to the industry due to the new administration. The most recent nomination of Jeff Sessions to the Attorney General position has many worried as Sessions talked negatively about the industry. Sessions has plans to revisit the Department of Justice ruling from 2011 of which the Wire Act was changed to allow online gaming to take place in the states.

If a ban were to be initiated, New Jersey along with Nevada and Delaware would be out of business. Any efforts to pass legislation in regards to gaming by other states would be null and void. To try and keep this from happening, the New Jersey General Assembly met last week and sent out a Joint Resolution which is sponsored by Vincent Mazzeo, an Assemblyman of the state. In the Joint Resolution, lawmakers are asking Trump and his new administration to oppose any measures that could harm the existing industry.

New Jersey was the last state in the US to regulate online gaming. A law that was authorized in 2013 gave states the right to create their own legislation and regulate online gaming within their borders. Once this law was put in place, New Jersey took time to pass a law and land based casinos now operate online gaming sites offering both poker and casino gaming.

The online gaming industry of New Jersey is doing quite well. The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement reported that in 2016, the online gaming win for the state came to $196.7 million which is an increase of more than 32% from 2015. Tax revenues are at a high with $29.5 million provided to the state.

New Jersey’s Efforts

The efforts by New Jersey could hopefully help to keep online gaming alive and well in the United States. In the Joint Resolution lawmakers are arguing that a federal ban of online gambling would stop the state and their casino industry of the boost of revenues. Years of efforts would be released and large investments harmed. The efforts by the state in regards to the industry has created a stable regulated market that has not only created revenues for the state but also employment positions. In the legal filing, the state is asking the President and Congress to do away with any attempts to implement prohibition of such activity.

The Joint Resolution does not carry any legal weight but shows lawmakers the viewpoint of the state in regards to their stance on the gaming issue. Trump has yet to voice an opinion about online gaming and has not commented on what he might do in regards to the industry. The fear is that the Sheldon Adelson mentality will reign supreme with the new Republican led administration. Adelson has been a strong opponent of online gaming and has spent a ton of cash fighting the issue.

Adelson has also contributed to campaigns of many republican lawmakers who may feel they need to pay back the casino mogul for his efforts.