Local state representatives support Internet gambling bill - NBC40.net

Local state representatives support Internet gambling bill

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ATLANTIC CITY -

Representatives in Trenton are currently working to meet the Governor's recommendations on an online gaming bill vetoed Thursday by the Governor.

Despite the veto, local officials of both parties are confident the passing of the bill is not far away.

"We have another step forward to the process of bringing Internet gaming here to Atlantic City and the state of New Jersey," said Assemblyman from the second district, John Amodeo

"I think it's workable. I think we can do this. I think the suggestions aren't radical that it changes the substance of the legislation," said Senator Jeff Van Drew of the first district.

Governor Christie suggests annual reviews to the system, and a ten-year review on the bill. He also suggests more funds to treat gambling addiction.

From an economic standpoint, experts say the bill makes sense for Atlantic City.

The Atlantic Club was just purchased by the parent company of online gaming giant Pokerstars.net, and Internet gambling is expected to bring back some gaming revenue lost to casinos in surrounding states.

"It's not just gambling. It's also restaurants and entertainment. There's a lot to do in the Atlantic City region and South Jersey. So it won't detract from visitation, but it will add visitation and people coming here for a variety of things," said executive director of the Levenson Institute at Stockton College, Dr. Israel Posner.

And as the tourism industry tries to rebuild after Hurricane Sandy, Senator Van Drew sees the bill as a way to help rebuild the region and state.

"It's particularly good for Atlantic City. It allows them to again have something else, something different and another way for dollars to come into Atlantic City to create jobs and some economic activity," said Senator Van Drew.

Both Senator Van Drew and Assemblyman Amodeo acknowledge that online gaming already exists, often illegally, and that this bill would provide a safe and regulated system that will benefit everyone involved.

"I would rather see the revenue go to a good cause. I'd rather see it be safe and legal and I'd rather see the money and the energy and the activity come into Atlantic City," said Senator Van Drew.

"It's something that we need, it will create revenue and more importantly it will create jobs," said Assemblyman Amodeo.

The bill could be reintroduced when the assembly holds voting sessions on February 14th, 21st and March 21st.

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