New Jersey Could Legalize Online Poker

September 23, 2011

New Jersey’s democratic senator, Raymond Lesniak plans on introducing a bill, which will make it legal for casinos in the state to provide their customers with the facility to play poker online for money. According to, this legislation would make sure that it covers the problem areas of a similar bill introduced last year. The previous bill introduced in 2010 was ultimately vetoed by Governor Chris Christie in March 2011.

Lesniak says that Governor Christie vetoed the 2010 poker bill, as she was apprehensive about the fact that profits from online poker may go to horse racing as well. She was also concerned that the bill may lead to opening of numerous internet cafes in the state. To counter these drawbacks, Lesniak has ensured that his new bill forbids both these activities. Lesniak has even reached out to the U.S Attorney General, Eric Holder, by writing him a letter that emphasizes on the fact that it is up to the state governments to decide whether they want online gambling to be legalized within their own borders.

However, not all senators are in sync with the views expressed by Lesniak in his letter to the U.S Attorney General. Senator Harry Reid, who is a democratic senator from Nevada, and republican senator from Arizona, Jon Kyl, both have been on the other side of this debate. Both of them firmly believe that if states were to legalize real money poker and online gambling then they would be going against the U.S Wire Act of 1961.

It has been estimated by a trade association for offshore casinos that if this bill were to be passed and online poker legalized in NJ, then casinos in Atlantic City could generate as much as $250 million dollars in revenue. This amount would include almost $55 million in taxes. Money is not the only benefit, it is also expected that this move might end up creating more than 2000 new employment opportunities.