New Jersey, Delaware stand to lose if Congress bans online gaming

Listen

A bill to ban on online gambling across the nation could be on its way to a vote in Congress, just as lawmakers from New Jersey say it would be a disaster for the state. Delaware also allows online gaming.

The bill is the top priority of casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who is one of the Republican Party’s top donors. 

The 81-year-old Las Vegas billionaire has been pumping money into efforts to stop online gambling. “There is no reason, nor any compelling reason, to a put a casino in everybody’s pocket,” he told Bloomberg News

During a recent House subcomittee meeting on the matter, Internet safety expert Perry Aftab was  questioned by U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, the bill’s sponsor, over whether it’s possible to prevent online gambling from creeping over state lines.

They parried about VPNs, or virtual private networks. It’s all about whether, say, a Pennsylvania resident can online gamble on a New Jersey site. Only New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada now allow online gaming.

“The providers in the three states we’re looking at prohibit any VPN. If there’s a sign that one’s being used on your computer, you can’t do it,” Aftab said.

“Oh, really? Then who’s the VPN police?” Chaffetz said. 

“The VPN police are the providers doing the geo-location,” answered Aftab. 

“Really?” Chaffetz said, incredulously. 

With the decline of Atlantic City’s casino’s, New Jersey legalized online gaming is being seen as an alternative revenue source, generating more than $120 million a year.

Gov. Chris Christie signed the law  allowing online gambling, in part, to help buoy Atlantic City’s struggling economy. 

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.