Atlantic City: Are New Jersey Online Casinos Legal?

The web sites hosted by casinos in Atlantic City have become increasingly popular. However, there have been in the past a number of debates and laws that have sought to prohibit the activities of these sites.

A Potential Spanner in the Works

The Federal Wire Act could be seen as a law that would potentially affect the online casinos in New Jersey. However in 2011 the US Justice Department determined that it only prohibited sports betting online. It would therefore not affect online casino games. This is great news for those who were worried about the potential for these games to be outlawed. However, there are still several legal debates that could contradict this.

Questions of Legality

Jennifer Beck, a state senator has given an argument for why New Jersey voters cannot approve the legalization of online gambling. According to her there are a number of court decisions that have potentially unfortunate consequences for those who enjoy the online casinos that Atlantic City has to offer. These decisions have stated that when online betting does occur it is taking place both at the location that is hosting the website and the location where the gambler is accessing the site. If these decisions were held up in court then it could mean that casino sites in their current form are breaking the law.

A Counterargument

However in contrast to this, John Wefing, a constitutional scholar has offered a counterargument to Beck’s opinion. He has stated that a constitutional amendment will not be needed for the authorization of online casino games. The reason for this is that when a game is played the wager is treated as a contract. This contract is recognized by the law. Therefore when a player starts a bet they are entering into a legal agreement with the casino that is hosting the website. No matter which side of the argument it is clear that this kind of online betting is becoming more and more popular.

New Laws

New legislation was drafted in 2013 in response to these debates. It was approved overwhelmingly that year and has a number of implications that have now become law. No business other than that of Atlantic City located casinos can facilitate or advertise online gambling. The legislature legalizes gambling from online casino sites for 10 years. This is a trial period. The revenue from these sites are subject to the imposition of a 15% tax. This is higher than the usual 8% that is imposed on casinos.

Conclusion

It remains to be seen what the future will bring for this form of betting. In the year 2023 the 10 year trial run of the casino sites will run out and will need to be renewed. Whether this renewal will take place remains to be seen. The New Jersey Casino Expansion Amendment of 2016 could have expanded the number of N.J. Casinos outside of Atlantic City. However, this could also have potentially bankrupted many of the casinos within this city. If the bill had passed it seems certain that were would be many more gambling sites operating within Jersey.