Lesniak Seeks Internet Gambling “Mecca” for NJ

New Jersey StateSenator Raymond Lesniak of New Jersey wants to see the Garden State become an international hub for online gambling operators. The lawmaker said recently that he believes that New Jersey could attract foreign igaming groups to base their operations in the state, although this would require that New Jersey change its existing laws that require operators to have their servers based in Atlantic City.

The current law also requires that players using New Jersey online gambling services be physically located in the state.  Should Lesniak manage to garner support for his plans that New Jersey become an internet gambling “mecca”, it will mean that this requirement will also be eliminated. Instead, New Jersey will be able to pool its players with other international jurisdictions, thereby expanding the markets.

Senator Lesniak was clear in what his intentions were for the future of online gambling in New Jersey, as noted in an interview which he gave to CNBC. “I’ve changed my mission from making New Jersey the Silicon Valley of Internet gaming to the Mecca of Internet gaming,” he said. “Online gaming has helped Atlantic City to revive its casino sector with a success that we can expand in ways that will generate more revenue, create jobs and fuel technological innovation in gaming.”

Lesniak is planning to introduce a bill that will open New Jersey’s gambling borders to other jurisdictions where online gambling is legal. This means that if the United States wants a part of the NJ market, it is currently limited to Nevada and Delaware. However, Lesniak believes that other states,  such as Pennsylvania, will be passing online gambling laws in the future.

Opposition to Lesniak’s idea could come from those who believe that it would complicate the ability of online poker rooms to pinpoint where players are located (geolocation) once the state’s borders are open to other jurisdictions. However, New Jersey has proven that it is able to overcome this type of hurdle, as it did in the beginning when online gambling was first introduced.

The senator was the original sponsor of a bill that led to online gambling becoming legal in New Jersey in 2013. This opened up a thriving market which has been credited for boosting Atlantic City’s previously floundering brick and mortar casino industry. Internet gambling has also experienced nine consecutive months of revenue growth, with tax revenue from online gambling totaling over $83 million since 2013.

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