New Jersey Senator Raymond Lesniak has introduced legislation that would allow the state to become a regulatory hub of online gambling in much the same fashion as the Isle of Man and Gibraltar.
Lesniak is urging his legislative colleagues to vote in favor of his plan that would grant foreign operators a Restricted Foreign Internet Wagering (RFIW) permit. The permit would allow licensees to operate online gambling sites in jurisdictions throughout the world where such gambling is legal, except for the U.S.
“Just as egaming operators are applying licences to offer internet gaming in New Jersey, they could apply for an international licence to offer gambling outside the United States,” Lesniak told eGR. “We are putting down the welcome mat to operators, whether located in Gibraltar or the Isle of Man or anywhere.”
Operators granted an RFIW permit would be required to locate computer servers within Atlantic City. Such a set-up would result in foreign operators opening offices in New Jersey, which would add jobs and additional revenue to the state.
Lesniak, who introduced the online gambling bill that Governor Chris Christie signed into law in February, appears confident that his latest proposal will be overwhelmingly accepted by fellow state lawmakers. His vision is that New Jersey eventually become a centerpiece of Internet gambling worldwide.
“I don’t expect any significant opposition this time around as there is no competition being taken away from Atlantic City in any way shape or form,” Lesniak said.
The plan calls for operators who receive a RFIW to pay a $200,000 initial fee and renewal fees of more than $100,000 annually. Contributions would also be required that would benefit problem gambling programs and the New Jersey Racing Commission. The tax rate paid by operators on gross gaming revenue would be 10% with tax credit provisions for any taxes paid to foreign jurisdictions.
Lesniak said that his proposal was created at the behest of international operators who feel that New Jersey’s highly-regarded casino industry make it an ideal location as a regulatory hub of online gambling.