On Friday, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed a bill that directly asked President Trump and his administration to oppose any legislation that would ban internet gaming.
Inside The iGaming Resolution
State Rep. Vincent Mazzeo introduced NJ AJR No. 137 in January, primarily as a response to the lingering Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA). RAWA would reverse the 2011 US Department of Justice memo that asserts that the Wire Act only applies to sports wagers placed on the internet. If the proposed act were to be passed by Congress, all bets transmitted via the internet would be considered illegal.
The resolution was the first of its kind to pass NJ Legislature, especially with such widespread support. NJ AJR No. 137 passed the Assembly on June 8th 75-0, and was then passed by the Senate with a 36-1 vote on June 22nd.
NJ AJR No. 137 urges Congress to protect the iGaming industry by continuing to allow states to authorize and regulate internet gaming. Copies of the signed resolution were sent to President Trump, members of the United States House and Senate, and also Attorney General Jeff Sessions. In January during a confirmation hearing, Sessions expressed how he opposed the 2011 DOJ decision and could potentially revisit the issue in the future.
So far, attempts to ban internet gaming have not been successful on any front. Though RAWA was introduced in the 114th Congress, it has not been re-introduced for the 115th session.
Internet Gaming In New Jersey
New Jersey legalized online gambling in November 2013 with the hopes of revitalizing their struggling Atlantic City casinos. The decision has proved to be beneficial, with a white paper released by iDEA (iDevelopment and Economic Association) showcasing just how successful iGaming has been to the local economy. The report was co-authored by Alan Meister of Nathan Associates and Gene Johnson of Victor-Strategies. A press release from June gave the following synopsis of N.J. internet gaming:
“Real money online gaming in NJ has generated increased revenue for NJ, significant new jobs for NJ and at the same time resulted in NO increase problem gambling, no incidents of fraud and no significant consumer protection related issues.”
The study also found that since the launch of iGaming in 2013, the state has produced:
- $124.4 million in state & local taxes
- $218.8 million in employee wages
- 3,374 jobs to residents
- $998.3 million in total output
As one of only three states that have legalized online gambling, the positive impact of iGaming for sports betting in New Jersey can serve as a model for other interested states. With online casinos generating close to $600 million since legalization and no instances of underage gambling, skeptics of regulation can feel more secure from both financial and consumer safety standpoints.
"At its current pace, New Jersey's online gambling industry will blast past the $700 million milestone before it celebrates its fourth birthday in November," said Steve Ruddock, expert gaming analyst.
"Instead of listening to agenda-driven hypotheticals and what-ifs about online gaming, lawmakers considering online expansion in states such as Pennsylvania should focus on the sustained and prodigious growth occurring in New Jersey."