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New Jersey Kicks off Virtual Gambling, Sets Its Sites for Online Gambling Capital of the World

Atlantic City and New Jersey players hit the virtual felt on Thursday, November 21, enjoying real money gambling on Internet poker, slots, roulette, blackjack and other popular NJ online casino games. A few bugs had to be worked out, as the state's player identification and location technology ran into some hurdles during the first couple of days of Internet gambling access. The security software told some potential New Jersey gamblers that it didn't believe they were actually located in the Garden State, some had utility bills requested to verify their identity, and the veracity of some Social Security numbers was questioned.

But all in all, New Jersey's Internet gambling era got underway last week, with most gamblers expressing satisfaction and optimism in the current setup and in the future of New Jersey as a leader in this new fledgling industry. With the 21st operating as a test launch, statewide gambling across multiple Internet casinos in New Jersey will officially begin Tuesday, November 26. Most of the initial online gamblers which were interviewed were pleased as punch that legal online gambling had finally arrived. One such player was Chris Choy of East Brunswick, who registered and played at the Atlantic City World Series Of Poker site. That was one of the five Caesars Atlantic City sites which was up and running for the soft launch, also the one which drew the most positive reviews during the initial test phase.

He said it took about 45 minutes for him to sign up and get approved with the new security software that verifies identities and locations, and his initial $1,000 deposit was painless. He referred to the experience as "pretty smooth sailing." After a $99 profit at the end of the night, Choy was obviously very happy that legalized, real money gambling had come to the Internet in New Jersey. New Jersey resident Michael Gagliano also signed up and played at the WSOP site, and said that he registered quickly, deposited money immediately, and played with no bugs or pickups for hours.

David Rebuck is New Jersey's director of the Division of Gaming Enforcement, and he said he is not too worried about the initial start-up problems, as they were sporadic and minimal. New Jersey decided to approve and legalize online gambling to help their lagging Atlantic City casino revenues. Generating $5.2 billion in 2006, just over $3 billion was created last year as the casinos fought off strong competition from nearby states. And with only a few days of legalized Internet casino and poker gambling under its belt, State Senator Raymond Lesniak believes New Jersey is ready to stake its claim as the worldwide online gambling capital. He plans to introduce legislation which would allow international companies to offer gambling options in New Jersey, and then let non-US gamblers from around the world access the sites.

This would not fall afoul of the Department of Justice dictum that allows each state to deliver its own online gambling regulation, and Lesniak said he is introducing the gambling friendly bill because gaming companies from around the world approached him about the possibility. And on the home-front, New Jersey is predicted to create between 16,000 and 20,000 jobs by the time it offers a full-fledged Internet gambling product, one of the most promising benefits of New Jersey online gambling. The real test will come after the 26th of November, as the entire state of New Jersey and multiple websites will be joining in the new, historical online gambling industry in the Garden State, and site traffic will explode.