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Lesniak Announces New iGaming Bill to Authorize International Companies in New Jersey

Senator Ray Lesniak

State Sen. Raymond Lesniak has introduced a bill that essentially allows for international Internet gaming operators to operate in New Jersey under established regulations; however, they would be unable to service US players. Lesniak aims to have the bill on Governor Chris Christie’s desk in mid-2014.

The bill, which you can read in its entirety by clicking here, allows for the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement to issue Restricted Foreign Internet Wagering (RFIW) permits.

As the bill states: “This bill authorizes the Division of Gaming Enforcement to provide licenses to foreign casinos, casino rooms, or licensed casinos to conduct restricted foreign Internet wagering, which is Internet wagering based in New Jersey but which is restricted to persons who do not reside in New Jersey or the United States, to enable those persons to place wagers on casino games via the Internet.”

The bill also includes the following:

  • Restricted foreign Internet wagering licensees shall maintain servers in New Jersey.
  • Holders of restricted foreign Internet wagering licenses shall solely conduct restricted foreign Internet wagering activities in jurisdictions outside the United States in which such activities are lawful. Conduct of restricted foreign Internet wagering activities in violation of federal law, the law of the State of New Jersey or any other state or Tribal area in the United States, or in any foreign jurisdiction, shall lead to immediate suspension or revocation of a restricted foreign Internet wagering license, at the discretion of the division.
  • Holders of restricted foreign Internet wagering licenses must comply with tax laws and regulations applicable to each jurisdiction in which they provide restricted foreign Internet wagering services.
  • The entire restricted foreign Internet wagering operation, including facilities, equipment and personnel, shall be located in a secure facility inaccessible to the public and specifically designed for that purpose within the territorial limits of the State of New Jersey at a location approved by the division.
  • Companies must institute procedures to verify a player’s physical presence in a jurisdiction outside of the United States in which Internet wagering is lawful each time a wager is placed.
  • A restricted foreign Internet wagering account shall be in the name of a natural person and may not be in the name of any beneficiary, custodian, joint trust, corporation, partnership or other organization or entity.
  • No person residing in the United States may be permitted to maintain a restricted foreign Internet wagering account, nor may any such account be maintained by any employee or principal of a restricted foreign Internet wagering licensee.
  • The division shall, by regulation, establish annual fees for the issuance or renewal of restricted foreign Internet wagering permits. The issuance fee shall be based upon the cost of investigation and consideration of the license application and shall be not less than $200,000. The renewal fee shall be based upon the cost of maintaining enforcement, control and regulation of restricted foreign Internet wagering operations and shall be not less than $100,000.
  • It shall be a condition of conducting restricted foreign Internet wagering that a restricted foreign Internet wagering licensee enters into an agreement with other such licensees to contribute to a fund established by those licensees that, through an assessment on the participating licensees in a manner determined by them, will raise $20 million annually in each of the first three State fiscal years commencing with the State fiscal year in which restricted foreign Internet wagering commences which amount shall be contributed to the New Jersey Racing Commission to be used to support the horse racing industry in this State through the augmentation of purses.

Here are some highlights surrounding the bills announcement as reported by Chris Grove of OP Report:

  • Foreign companies would set up servers in New Jersey, but would exclude American players. “The liquidity issue will need to be solved by compacts with other states,” said Lesniak.
  • American players would not be included in international player pools under the bill.
  • There would be no difference in suitability assessments for New Jersey and the rest-of-world licenses.
  • International online gaming companies asked Lesniak for the new bill.
  • Lesniak believes international licensing would give rise to a “Ryder Cup” of poker.

Watch Lesniak's announcement and subsequent Q&A session as filmed on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013 at the Atlantic City Convention Center:

*Lead photo courtesy of blog.nj.com.

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