Lottery Ruling Opens Doors to Online Gambling

  • January 03, 2012
  • By Daniel C. Vock

It did not take long for states to see the opening created by the U.S. Justice Department to let their residents gamble online.

The Justice Department ruling, which became public over the holidays, cleared the way for Illinois and New York to set up online lottery games. The states wanted the blessing of the federal government to make sure that such games did not run afoul of federal law.

Now, lawmakers in other states want to get in on the action too, and not just with the lottery. "We can be the Silicon Valley of Internet gaming," New Jersey state Senator Raymond Lesniak told The Associated Press. "It's the wave of the future. It's going to come and we can be in the lead on it."

Lesniak is pushing a bill, which he hopes could be approved as soon as this week, to let the state offer games for its residents. Nevada regulators already cleared the way for companies to operate poker websites. Soon they will decide which companies to license, the AP notes.

Maine may not be among the states rushing to respond to the ruling, but lawmakers there are keeping an eye on how the changes could affect their existing games, theBangor Daily News points out. "We are going to have to jump on this and try to find out as much as we can in a short time," state Representative Mike Carey told the paper.

The two states that asked for the opinion are planning to move forward quickly. New York will add two games online, and Illinois could offer lottery tickets online within three months,The New York Times reported earlier.

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