Wednesday, August 08, 2012
WHELAN BILL TO AUTHORIZE ON-PREMISES MOBILE GAMING AT CASINOS SIGNED INTO LAW
Measures Would Also Make Other Changes to Casino Regulations
TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Jim Whelan, the Chairman of the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee, which allows casinos to offer mobile gaming within their premises, and makes other changes to the casino regulatory structure was signed into law today by Governor Christie.
“New Jersey’s casinos are the economic engine of South Jersey, and we need to give them the regulatory flexibility to adapt to new technologies and new practices within the larger nationwide industry,” said Senator Whelan, D-Atlantic. “We’ve already seen handheld, mobile gaming devices being successfully implemented at facilities in Las Vegas, and now these gaming devices will be coming soon to casinos in Atlantic City. By keeping pace with new technology and new advances in gaming, we can make sure that Atlantic City is on a level competitive field with our main competitor to the West.”
The new law makes a number of changes to the regulatory structure of casino gaming in New Jersey. Under the legislation, casinos will be able to allow for electronic versions of authorized games of chance to be played on mobile gaming devices within the casino and adjoining hotel, as well as any outdoor swimming pool area or outdoor recreational area, provided the player has established an account with the casino licensee, and the wager is placed by and paid to the patron in person within the approved hotel facility. The mobile gaming device will be required to be inoperable outside the approved casino or hotel facility.
“With the Jersey Shore as a backdrop, Atlantic City has a leg up on its competitors in Las Vegas and around the country, and I believe that mobile gaming devices could create a significant new revenue stream for our casinos,” said Senator Whelan. “This new law contains the appropriate safeguards to prohibit underage gambling, and to ensure that mobile gaming devices will be governed by the same rules and regulations as any other authorized game of chance. But as part of a larger effort to keep our casinos competitive, mobile gaming devices will be a welcomed new addition to casino wagering in the Garden State.”
Senator Whelan added that mobile gaming devices will also be authorized to take bets on sporting events, should the casino have an established sports book operation under New Jersey’s sports wagering law. He said that giving casino patrons the ability to bet on sports events pool-side will “put Atlantic City a step ahead of other gaming jurisdictions in which sports betting is currently illegal.”
The measure also expands the definition of a corporate officer under the regulatory framework of casino gaming in New Jersey, and restores language which will allow casinos to compensate a junket enterprise based upon the actual casino gaming or simulcast wagering activities of a patron procured or referred by the junket enterprise. Finally, the new law ensures that, barring any existing contracts or State law, that all assets and revenues of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) be used within the Atlantic City Tourism (ACT) district or for community development within Atlantic City.
“The new provision, that CRDA resources stay within Atlantic City, is a huge win for our casino industry and for the city as a whole,” said Senator Whelan. “At the end of the day, this provision will ensure a dedicated revenue stream, and dedicated resources to promote the city, encourage development, and maintain the infrastructure to keep Atlantic City a thriving casino and resort destination. This change in the law alone should be a slam dunk for Atlantic City, but taken with the mobile gaming provision, this is a huge step in the right direction to maintain Atlantic City as a nationwide leader in gaming.”
The bill was approved by both houses of the Legislature in June.