New Jersey senator Ray Lesniak has been pushing to turn the state into an online gambling hub where foreign operators can come and pitch their tents, set up shop in the swamps, and celebrate their good fortune that a US state had the balls to do such a thing. That plan, minus the celebratory pom-poms, took one step closer to reality after a state Senate panel advanced the measure, called Bill S9890, effectively inching towards a rosy outlook for the said bill.
Should Lezniak’s bill go all the way and cross the finish line, it could be the game-changing scenario that New Jersey has been looking for to boost state revenues. Lesniak has been on record saying how big of a deal this could be for the state, helping it to become “the leader in online gaming, across the country and around the world”.
“We could be the ‘Silicon Valley’ for high-tech gaming,” Lesniak said, obviously mincing no words about his preferred outlook if the bill gets passed.
As part of Bill S9890, foreign online gambling operators will be required to base their operations in Atlantic City and tie up with the existing casinos in the area. From there, Atlantic City casinos and their online gambling partners will be given licenses by the state Division of Gaming Enforcement to offer online gambling, or “games of chance” as explicitly said in the bill, in other countries or other states where online betting is legal.
The bill, though, contains a couple of caveats. One is the state, that would be Jersey, needs to sign agreements with international jurisdictions where these online gambling companies want to cater to. That’s a deal-or-no-deal kind of agreement. Then there’s the issue of paying taxes. Under Lesniak’s proposed bill, these foreign companies will become subject to the state’s 15 percent sales tax on online gambling on top of other due taxes that need to be paid. The silver lining to that is the taxes paid in Jersey will be all these companies are required to pay as they are credited for any taxes paid in other countries or states.
It’s pretty clear that New Jersey is going all in on its dream of becoming an online gambling hub, the first of its kind in the US. Accomplishing could be a huge financial goldmine, the likes of which none of Atlantic City’s casinos are capable of reaching these days. In fact, according to the Star-Ledger, early estimates done by Econsult Solutions calls for the state to generate as many as 16,000 employment opportunities while fetching anywhere from $5 billion to $8 billion a year in annual revenue.
That’s a lot of anticipated money tied into the bill and with a state Senate panel advancing the measure, the state is inching closer and closer to touching that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.