|A New Jersey state Assembly committee wants to study the possibility of legalizing and regulating Internet gaming in the state.|
Although illegal in the US, about 60% of the billions of dollars of gambling revenues for the 1,800 off-shore companies is generated there.
'Internet gambling is not coming, its here,' said Assemblyman Anthony Impreveduto, D-Hudson. 'Certainly, we're in a budget crunch. Internet gaming is a place to find that revenue.'
Impreveduto's bill - which will go to the full Assembly and then the Senate for approval – calls for the establishment of a 21-member commission to review the prevalence, status and growth of Internet gaming. The commission will also study the impact Internet gaming has on minors and the problems and benefits of regulation.
The state's Office of Legislative Services projects that Internet gambling revenue will grow to $4.1 billion this year. That number is expected to triple by 2006.
Frank Catania, former head of the state Division of Gaming Enforcement, said the idea to form a commission is both insightful and timely.
'It's a logical approach to a problem we all have to face,' Catania said.
Casino Control Commission Chair Linda Kassekert also supports the study.
'It's something that has to be looked at,' Kassekert said. 'It's a growing industry and we have to make sure it's regulated correctly.'
State Sen. William Gormley, R-Atlantic, said he is against forming an Internet gaming commission because it could lead to supporting an industry that takes away capital construction dollars from Atlantic City.
'It's just a study,' Gormley said. 'I'll deal with it at the appropriate time.'