New Jersey bill needs no referendum; Mississippi bill dead; Bally VP doubts federal legalization

TAGs: Bally Interactive, mississippi

american flag wallpaperVoters in New Jersey won’t have to approve Internet gambling for it to be permitted in the state. John Wefing, a law professor at Seton Hall University and expert on the state constitution, told an Assembly panel the current law allows the governor and legislature to decide which types of gambling are permitted in Atlantic City. It comes from a constitutional amendment approved by voters in 1976 that legalized casino gambling in AC. Servers would still need to be in the city though, Wefing addubg: “It is permissible to expand gambling in Atlantic City if the gambling is actually taking place in Atlantic City.”

If Governor Chris Christie lets the bill go through without a referendum, it’ll be a dramatic u-turn. Christie stated he could now sign the bill if the state attorney’s office and other legal departments approve it. The difference with last year, when he dismissed a similar bill, is there was a chance he’d stand for the Republican party – not something he wanted to scupper. Sen. Raymond Lesniak is bursting with excitement over the latest news and commented: “It’s extremely important we get going now, so as to be able to compete with other states for online gaming and generate those revenues for our casinos.”

His child-on-Christmas-morning mood will be dampened by bill-sponsor and Assemblyman John Burzichelli (D-Gloucester) saying a vote is a few weeks away. Lesniak thinks it’ll be this Thursday.

Mississippi won’t be the next on the bandwagon after its online gaming act hit the buffers. The Mississippi Lawful Internet Gaming Act of 2012 would have permitted existing licensees to offer Internet gaming. A committee delivered the death knell to the bill in a state that numbers Caesars Entertainment, Boyd Gaming and MGM Resorts among its residents.

Bally Interactive VP of business development John Connelly publicly doubted any federal legalization of online poker in the U.S. this year. During a panel at the iGaming North America conference, he echoed the widely held view state-by-state will be the way it plays out. The Las Vegas Business Times reported he added being a presidential election year makes it “a little more complicated.”

Connelly is another who’s backing Nevada as the first U.S. state to offer any service with his estimates that licences will be ready in June. Liquidity is one of the many problems Connelly sees the affecting the success of the industry – as is player retention. Liquidity could be solved by states teaming up and it wouldn’t be unbelievable if this took place. Working for Bally means he’s fairly clued up on where the industry’s heading and that extends to the online medium.

“The evolution of Internet gaming is with handheld and mobile devices, not personal computers,” Connelly said.


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