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NJ Senator Pursues Bill Allowing Intra-State Internet Gambling

NJ Senator Pursues Bill Allowing Intra-State Internet Gambling

Although New Jersey was among the states that led the way in the attack against American internet gambling, its legislators have now issued a statement to inform the Department of Justice that the state is within its jurisdiction to put intra-state online gambling into place, and that federal regulations would allow it.

This argument was expressed in greater detail by New Jersey Senator Raymond J. Lesniak, one of the primary sponsors of an online gambling and sports betting proposal that has already received a majority of votes within the state’s legislature.  He said “the State of New Jersey should not be impeded in any manner from exercising our rights under our state constitution and under federal law,” in a letter written to Attorney-General of the United States, Eric Holder.

Lesniak insists that the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006 allows online gambling intra-state.   He pointed out that in the act, “The term 'unlawful Internet gambling' does not include placing, receiving, or otherwise transmitting a bet or wager where...the bet or wager is initiated and received or otherwise made exclusively within a single State.”

Among Lesniac’s main arguments is that intra-state online network traffic’s “intermediate routing” by internet service providers is prohibited by neither the UIGEA nor the Wire Act, which is legislation meant to stop illegal interstate sports betting activities that use telecommunications, but was not designed to stop intra-state gambling on the internet.

This bill – which has not been without controversy – would permit casinos located in Atlantic City to provide customers with online casino game and poker gambling across state lines.  The proposed legislation has already been vetoed by Governor Chris Christie, against whom accusations have also been made, claiming that the move was a political one as he has interests in running for President.

It is anticipated that later in 2011, a new bill with a similar intention will be introduced.

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