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New Jersey Passes Online Poker Legislation

Legislation, 2011-01-20, by Ozone

On January 10th, the New Jersey state assembly passed a bill that will create the first legalized intrastate online gambling in the U.S. The bill, Senate Bill S490, is currently awaiting the signature of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. It is unclear if Christie intends to sign the bill. In the event that he does nothing, the bill will go into law 45 days after it passed the assembly. Senate Bill S490 had an overwhelming amount of approval: it passed the New Jersey assembly 63-11 (3 abstained) and the state Senate 34-2.

The bill will clear the way for Atlantic City casinos to offer online versions of their games to anyone living in the state of New Jersey. Their gaming servers will be located on casino property. According to the bill, the state will tax 8% of gross revenues generated from online gaming.

This bill's passing marks a significant moment in online poker's fight to gain legal status in the U.S. New Jersey has paved the way for other states, such as California and Nevada, to follow suit with similar legislation.

It remains unclear if New Jersey residents will be shut-out from unlicensed online gaming operations such as Full Tilt and PokerStars as a result of this bill. It is possible that those companies will choose to exit the New Jersey market, as they did in the state of Washington, instead of operating in open defiance of U.S. law.

The first legal online gaming platforms are expected to come online in New Jersey later this year.

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