The Attorney General's office filed the first of what is expected to be a series of lawsuits designed to stop three gambling operators who take bets from residents in New Jersey. During its investigation, representatives of the Attorney General's office placed bets on various sites, as did teenagers whom the investigator monitored.
Impreveduto said the lawsuits will amount to nothing, because the state can't enforce any penalties a court might issue.
"While we could arrest the operators of these sites if they came into the state, they aren't likely to ever come into New Jersey," he said. "So they will just keep on running their sites as if nothing has happened."
Impreveduto had previously introduced legislation that would permit on-line gambling for adults by allowing and registering sites operated from the floor of existing New Jersey casinos.
While Impreveduto's legislation failed to get support from state legislators in New Jersey, Nevada has already adopted similar measures, allowing the state to collect taxes and assure that winners will get paid.
"Right now, if you gamble on one of the off-shore sites, you have no way of collecting if you win," Impreveduto said.
Nevada is expected to have gambling sites up and running within two years.
"We know there are some bad people running the illegal sites," Impreveduto said. "But suing them won't stop them. My bill might."
New technology can also help keep kids from participating. One program requires people to type in data several times, and then remembers their typing pattern.
"This can be 98 percent effective at keeping kids from playing these games," Impreveduto said.
While New Jersey casinos have sites already, the legislation 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 casino, and would not include sports gambling, something that is currently offered on the off-shore Internet sites. The New Jersey license would be renewable every year.
This measure allows for an account to be established for each online gambler if the consumer passes an online security check. Entering the site would prevent those under 21 from gaining access, and anyone residing outside the state of New Jersey.
Impreveduto said he hoped that modern technology could offer even greater security in this area, and envisioned a time in the not-too-distant future when a thumbprint mouse might be used to prevent access.
John Peter Suarez, director of the state Division of Gaming Enforcement, agreed that enforcement would be difficult, but said that having a judgement against these sites and the individuals who own or operate them could allow the state to file criminal charges later.
Early in June, the Assembly Health Committee released another piece of Impreveduto legislation that would facilitate more comprehensive blood screening of newborns for potential genetic disorders.
"Early medical attention makes a great deal of difference in a child's life," Impreveduto said. "There are up to 35 tests a newborn can receive. By providing families with greater access to testing, we can ensure that a child will lead a happy, healthy and productive life."
This bill asks the Department of Health and Senior Services to permit qualified private organization to offer clinical laboratory services to detect medical disorders in newborns.
By testing blood drawn from a newborn shortly after birth, private laboratories can identify as many as 35 rare genetic factors that may cause severe mental retardation, chronic disability or death. Since 1990, New Jersey had screened newborns for four disorders with the tests conducted by a state-run laboratories. Several years ago, the state increased these to 14 tests.