The states of New Jersey and California, along with New Brunswick, a Maritime province of Canada, are moving toward legalizing online gambling. Internet gambling is a central concern of location-based amusement operators. However, the next president of the Amusement and Music Operators Association says expanded legalized gambling does not necessarily means less money in the cashboxes of jukeboxes and amusement devices.
By strong margins in both houses, New Jersey's state Legislature on Jan. 13 quietly passed the Intra-State Internet Gambling bill, designated S3167. Gov. Chris Christie has up to 45 days to sign or veto the measure, which would permit Atlantic City casinos to offer Internet versions of their games to 8.7 million state citizens.
In California, Sen. Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) has proposed a bill (SB-40) that would legalize Internet poker for California's 30 million citizens. Supporters, including the California Online Poker Association and the California Gaming Association, said the move could raise $1 billion in taxes in 10 years. California's Native American casinos are part of the pro-legalization coalition.
New Brunswick's provincial government has commissioned the Atlantic Lottery Corp. to perform a feasibility study for a state-run Internet gambling website. Online gambling has already been launched by one Canadian government agency. According to the Montreal Gazette, Loto-Quebec began offering Internet ticket sales last November.
The next president of AMOA, Donovan Fremin of Delta Music (Thibodaux, LA), said coin machine operators should not panic about the spread of legalized gambling. His own company has operated traditional amusements alongside gaming machines for decades, he said, and has seen growth in both sectors. "They are different markets with different customers," he said.
Fremin will take the reins as AMOA's top officer in March at the close of the 2011 Amusement Expo. Vending Times will publish an interview of Fremin in its February print edition.