NJ Sen. Lesniak Introduced Bill to Facilitate International Gaming Compacts
New Jersey State Senator Raymond Lesniak is retiring in a month. He has long been a champion of online poker in the state, so his departure will make me a little bit sad. But before he goes, he is looking for one last hurrah, introducing Senate Bill 3536, a bill which would permit the state to enter into liquidity sharing agreements with international markets.
The summary of the bill is as follows:
Under current law, Internet gaming equipment is required to be located within the territorial boundaries of Atlantic City. Current law also permits the Division of Gaming Enforcement in the Department of Law and Public Safety to allow the acceptance of wagers from persons outside of this State if the division determines that such wagering is not inconsistent with federal law or the law of the jurisdiction, including any foreign nation, in which any such person is located, or such wagering is conducted pursuant to a reciprocal agreement to which this State is a party that is not inconsistent with federal law.
This bill allows the division to permit Internet gaming equipment to be located outside of Atlantic City if the division deems it necessary to facilitate the conduct of international Internet wagering.
Lesniak previewed the bill – before it was even written – in August.
“I’ve changed my mission from making New Jersey the Silicon Valley of Internet gaming to the Mecca of Internet gaming,” he told the Associated Press this summer. “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.”
New Jersey recently agreed to merge player pools with Nevada and Delaware – who themselves already shared poker liquidity. The problem for New Jersey in that regard, though, is that once the sharing takes effect, it probably won’t move the needle for the Garden State’s player traffic (and, in turn, tax revenue) all that much, as the other two states are fairly small. New Jersey was the target for Nevada and Delaware, not really the other way around. It was a good move for the long-term, though, as the states should want as many of their brethren as possible in a multi-state network. Pennsylvania has regulated online poker – though it is not yet live – and it is expected that it will also join with the other three states.
The importance of allowing gaming servers to be located outside of Atlantic City is right there in the final sentence of the summary:
“….if the division deems it necessary to facilitate the conduct of international Internet wagering.”
It sounds like the idea here is that getting international markets onboard is more important than the details of where the servers are located. If, for example, the United Kingdom and UK operators might balk at being required to house equipment in Atlantic City just for the honor of doing business in New Jersey, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement is willing to be flexible and let the servers be located elsewhere.
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