A New Jersey Senate committee passed a bill on Tuesday that would allow online wagering on casino games in the Garden State, the Associated Press reports.
The bill, sponsored by state Sens. Ray Lesniak (D-Union) and James Whelan (D-Atlantic), was approved by 11 senators at Tuesday's hearing, with only Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-Ridge) abstaining. The next step for the bill is a full Senate and Assembly vote, which likely won't happen until later this month at the earliest.
Lesniak told PokerNews last month that he expects Internet poker to be up and running in the state by September. He also stated that, because of the Justice Department's opinion that the Wire Act does not apply to online poker, New Jersey will be allowed to form compacts with other states — much like the country's multi-state lottery games.
Last year, the New Jersey legislature passed similar bills to legalize online gambling, but Gov. Chris Christie vetoed the measures, citing “legal and constitutional concerns.”
However, Christie's stance changed last December when the DOJ reversed its interpretation of the Wire Act.
“I think New Jersey should be in that business," Christie said in a press conference in January. "I think we should be an epicenter for that business, but I want to do it right. I do not want to rush and get legislation that either doesn’t pass state constitutional muster, or creates other problems for us."
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