ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Nevada and New Jersey once had the country to themselves when it came to casino gambling. Now, with the sudden advent of Internet gambling, those states are expected to slug it out again for dominance of the fledgling U.S. online betting market.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed a law Tuesday legalizing Internet betting, days after Nevada did the same. And Delaware could have its online betting operation up and running by late September.
Industry executives say a key to who will dominate the industry will be how online betting is regulated by different states. That, in turn, will affect the interstate compacts that are likely to quickly expand the market.
Online poker is expected to be one of the most popular offerings.
"Nevada is jumping on this very quickly," said Joseph Brennan Jr., director of the Interactive Media Entertainment & Gaming Association. "They clearly want to pit themselves against New Jersey."
Indeed, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval had urged his state's lawmakers to quickly get him an Internet gambling bill to sign, which he did on Feb. 21 — a week before Christie signed his in New Jersey. And Nevada's Assembly majority leader, William Horne, couldn't resist a Jersey jab, adding, "As to our competitor, New Jersey, they should be accustomed to following Nevada."
Nevada already has about 20 applications from various operators, equipment and software vendors to be licensed for online gambling.
New Jersey's initial regulations for Internet gambling should be ready soon, said David Rebuck, director of the state's Division of Gaming Enforcement.
"We are going to develop clear and convincing standards for the users and the operators to protect against fraud, and have risk mitigation standards built in," he said Wednesday. Rebuck said his agency has been studying regulations for online gambling in 85 jurisdictions that currently allow it, including Nevada and numerous foreign countries, and intends to adopt the best practices of those governments.
Initially, New Jersey will restrict Internet gambling to customers within the state's borders. Technology to be integrated into the networks that will be developed will include as many as five or six "geo-locators" that will determine with a near 100 percent certainty where a player is located when he or she logs in to gamble.
Patrons would have to set up their accounts in person at one of Atlantic City's 12 casinos, where their age and identity can be verified, their financial information processed and their names checked against databases of people who have either been barred from casinos or who signed up for a self-exclusion list, most commonly done by people who feel they have a gambling problem.
Payouts can be done electronically to a person's account, they could be mailed a check, or other options still to be determined, Rebuck said. But they would not have to travel to Atlantic City to withdraw proceeds from their accounts.