Impreveduto's legislation, co-sponsored by Assemblyman Neil M. Cohen (R-20th Dist.), would have made New Jersey the only state in the country to create licensing requirements and restrict access for children to web-based gambling. The bill would grant an online license to any already-licensed Atlantic City casino to operate on the Internet. This would require operators of virtual casinos, the software and other functions to be located in Atlantic City, and operation would be subject to the same rules and regulations outlined in the 1977 Casino Control Act.
These "virtual casinos" would only be permitted to offer the same games that are available at the Atlantic City casinos and would not include sports gambling, which is currently offered on the off shore Internet sites. The New Jersey license would be renewable every year.
"Unfortunately, Nevada legislators have requested a copy of my legislation and may beat us to the law," Impreveduto said during an interview last week.
Since introducing the measure, Impreveduto said he has been seeking endorsements from various entities, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He has also visited sites of legal off-shore gambling facilities and took note of their remarkable success.
"I met with one man who had taken in $70 million worth of bets for the Super Bowl," Impreveduto said. "That was one man with one computer. All of Las Vegas only took in about $80 million in bets."
Under Impreveduto's legislation, the web-based casinos would operate from the floors of the land-based casinos and would give the state a cut in the revenues.
Last year, an attempt to regulate Internet gambling on the federal level got stalled when Congress failed to act on pending legislation.
"What's happening now is that the casinos have their web site ready but they're not yet satisfied with how they work," Impreveduto said. "They are stalling until they can make them better. But by that time, if Nevada casinos get online first, New Jersey's casinos might not be able to compete. People tend to stay with the Internet sites they start with."
Pre-paid education bill advances
A bill that would allow parents to pre-pay future college tuition at today's prices for their children passed the state Assembly on March 8.
"With a pre-paid tuition program, New Jersey's middle-class working families will be better able to meet the challenges of sending children to college," said Impreveduto, the sponsor of the bill. "Being able to pay in advance for the costs of enrolling a child in a public institution of high education will help New Jersey families to make ends meet."
This bill is entitled the "New Jersey Prepaid Higher Education Expense Program Act of 2000." It establishes the New Jersey Prepaid Higher Education Expense Program, providing a mechanism through which the cost of tuition, registration fees and dormitory residence may be paid in advance of enrollment in a public institution of higher education at a rate lower than the cost at the time of actual enrollment. The bill provides for the creation of an 11-member Prepaid Higher Education Expense Board, appointed by the governor.
The board will develop two types of advance payment contracts, one for tuition and registration fees and the other for dormitory residence:
The County College plan would provide prepaid tuition for a specified number of credit hours not to exceed the average number needed to obtain an associate degree. The cost would be based on in-state average current and projected tuition within the county college system coupled with the time between the start of the contract and when the student actually attends the college.
The University Plan would provide prepaid tuition for the credit hours needed achieve a bachelor's degree and the cost would be assessed in-state costs for a four-year college as well as the time between the contract starting and when the student attends.
The bill also sets up a Prepaid High Education Expense Trust Fund that would consist of state appropriations, money from other governmental or private sources and the funds contributed by individuals contracting for the prepaid tuition.
"The program would be easy, affordable, flexible and smart," Impreveduto said.
The measure will go to the state senate for its consideration.
Special election bill
The state assembly also passed a bill sponsored by Impreveduto that would require notice of special school board elections. This bill would effect school districts that have an elected school Board of Education.
This bill makes two changes to the current law regarding the holding of special school elections. It would:
Require a Board of Education to give the municipal clerk or clerks, as the case may be, and the county board of elections no less than 60 days notice, in writing, of its intention to hold a special election;
Replace the provisions in current law regarding when a special school election may be held in a type II district to provide that such an election may be held only on the following days: the fourth Tuesday in January, the second Tuesday in March, the second Tuesday after Labor Day, or the second Tuesday in December.
"The public has a right to receive advance notice about special elections called by local school boards," Impreveduto said. "When an election is held, it ostensibly is for the purpose of addressing an issue that requires public input and participation. The law that would require that special elections be held on these specific dates assures greater continuity and provides the public more of an opportunity to cast votes."
Under current law, a special election can be held at any time if 50 voters in that district petition for it. The law also restricts districts from being able to hold more than two special elections within a six-month period.
The bill, which was co-sponsored by Assemblyman Nicolas Felice (R-40th Dist.) now heads to the acting governor who may sign it, veto it or modify it in the form of a conditional veto.