THE IMEGA-BACKED Intra-State Internet Gambling bill has finally found its way to the desk of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who has until March 10 (approximately) to sign it into law. Either way it would give the green light for New Jersey to officially become the first state in the US to regulate Internet gambling, allowing casinos in Atlantic City to provide online versions of their games to state residents.

Bearing the co-sponsorship of Senators Ray Lesniak (D) and Joe Kryillos (R), the bill was approved in the New Jersey Senate by a majority of 34-2 - the vote in the assembly was approved by 63-11-3 margin. iMEGA, the major force in getting the bill this far released this statement through Chairman, Joe Brennan Jr.
"Congratulations to New Jersey's legislators on their overwhelming vote in favour of the Intra-State Internet Gambling bill. It's clear that New Jersey's representatives want their state to be at the forefront of the online gaming industry, both in the US and globally.

"With the combination of the top regulators in gaming, great information technology infrastructure, a highly-educated workforce, and the strong foundation and leadership of the Atlantic City casino industry, New Jersey is certain to lead this industry's growth in the US, while creating high-paying, skilled jobs in the technology sector and also attracting investment to the state."

Writing in his article, "New Jersey: the Land of (iGaming) Opportunity?", Brennan lays out the reasons why New Jersey would be "the best state in the entire US for establishing a permanent base of operations for existing firms to eventually extend their reach into the next states to permit online games.

"New Jersey, which is the second largest casino market in the US after Nevada, has arguably the toughest regulators in the gaming industry," he explained. "The value of NJ licensure to an iGaming firm is the regulatory surety it demonstrates not only to players, but also to subsequent state governments that may permit the activity, as well as to the financial markets, which would likely place a higher valuation on NJ-licensed firms.
"New Jersey also has the highest IT infrastructure density of any jurisdiction in the world. This is due to the massive post-9/11 build up of capacity to support the financial centre on Wall Street, creating surpluses of bandwidth, storage and servicing firms."

California has previously hogged much of the limelight from European-based operators seeking a state solution in the US, largely because it boasts the largest population. However, the 36 million inhabitants of 'The Golden State' represent an 11 percent shortfall on the potential 40.8 million people that New Jersey (8.7m), in combination with New York (19.5m) and Philadelphia (12.6m) would provide for a regulated iGaming market, should both latter states follow in New Jersey's regulatory model and create compacts allowing inter-state gaming.
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