Internet Bingo and Interstate Compacts

Recently New Jersey State Assemblyman John Amodeo told a conference of gambling industry leaders and regulators that legislation proposed earlier in the year would allow internet gambling to spread from New Jersey to neighboring states. The bill could see legislative action in November and would allow the hardware and software used for internet gambling to be located outside of Atlantic City’s casinos. To meet legal requirements the equipment would have to be located in Atlantic City. Currently all online gaming servers are located in Atlantic City casinos.

The proposed legislation could pave the way for New Jersey to host a central hob for interstate internet gambling. Amodeo said that New Jersey could sell the rights to run gambling programs out of the hub and suggested that passing the legislation could signal that New Jersey is interested in the idea of interstate compacts. Currently New Jersey’s internet gambling laws requires players to be located within the state’s borders. Compacts with other states could provide online gambling to more players creating bigger player pools and possible a nationwide system for internet gambling.

Amodeo told conference attendees “Ultimately, we could see Las Vegas handle everything west of the Mississippi, and Atlantic City could handle everything east of the Mississippi. This is that big. It has that kind of potential.” Amodeo joined lawmakers and regulators from several states at the “World Regulatory Briefing USA focusing on iGaming” in Philadelphia. Amodeo was one of several panelists that discussed the future of internet gambling in the United States. During the conference the possibility of interstate gambling compacts was a dominate theme.

While Amodeo discussed the possibilities of internet gambling other panelists questioned the viability of interstate cooperation because of differences in regulations in various states. Last week a report by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission caused gaming giant Caesar’s Entertainment to scrap plans to open a casino in East Boston. There were doubts that Caesar’s could pass the state’s background checks. Amodeo said that if there is no federal regulation suitability issues across states could be a roadblock for potential compacts. Amodeo said “If you have interstate, it has to be collaboration. It has to work for all.”

So why should internet bingo players be concerned with interstate compacts? New Jersey plans to offer players a selection of card and casino games. At some point internet bingo will be added to the gambling menu in New Jersey. New Jersey is in a good position to offer online gambling services to other states and could easily provide several states with internet bingo games.