Trailing Nevada in the race to be the first state to offer intrastate online poker, New Jersey suffered a minor setback when a vote by the full Senate on proposed Internet gambling legislation was pushed back until May 31.
The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Ray Lesniak (D-Union), originally thought that his proposal would be approved by both houses this month. However, due to the scheduled vacations of several of his fellow lawmakers in April, voting on the Garden State online gambling bill will have to wait until the end of next month.
On April 3, the measure was advanced by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee by a vote of 11-0. Should the Senate vote for its approval on May 31, the State Assembly would entertain the proposal in June. Another passage by that legislative body would send the bill to the in box of Governor Chris Christie. Vetoing a similar bill last year, Christie is believed to be prepared to sign the bill into law following amendments that satisfy the New Jersey constitution.
Lesniak’s original goal to have Atlantic City online poker sites up and running by Sept. 1 now looks a bit unrealistic. But the optimistic Senator still believes that an intrastate website launching sometime in the fall can be achieved. Whether that would beat Nevada’s launch date is yet to be determined. But Nevada has already approved regulations and is expected to be awarding operator licenses in June, so the Silver State still appears to be in the lead.