Political efforts to defend New Jersey's fledgling Internet gambling industry intensified Tuesday, two days before a test of online betting is to begin in the state.

Graeme Roberstorn, Getty Images

Casinos and their online technology partners did last-minute testing Tuesday, and a pro-gambling state senator tried to rally opposition to Las Vegas billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson's plan to try to ban online gambling in the United States.

Sen. Ray Lesniak also said he'll unveil a proposed expansion on Thursday of Internet gambling in New Jersey.

"Adelson has started a campaign to shut down New Jersey's internet gaming which will cost the loss of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of revenues to Atlantic City's ailing casinos and hundreds of millions of dollars to the state treasury," said Lesniak, who sponsored the law that legalized Internet gambling in his state. "We already have given the legal authority for Internet gaming in New Jersey, and state regulators have done a good job in reviewing and authorizing licenses for online gaming businesses. Imposing a federal ban on Internet gambling for New Jersey would be an economic catastrophe."

The Washington Post reported last week that Adelson is preparing a public campaign to portray online gambling as a danger to children, the poor and others who could be exploited by easy access to Internet betting. In January, Adelson plans to launch an advocacy group, the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling.

Adelson was one of the top donors in last year's presidential elections; he and his wife spent nearly $100 million to help Republicans.

The American Gaming Association, the casino industry's trade group, also opposed Adelson's plans.

"In 2012, Americans spent nearly $3 billion gambling with rogue offshore operators," said Geoff Freeman, the group's president. "The Internet cannot be forced back into the bottle -- nor can market demand. We support pragmatism and strong regulation of online gaming that protects consumers, prevents underage play, ensures the integrity of the games and empowers law enforcement."

Several Atlantic City casino executives declined to comment on Adelson's plans Tuesday.

The moves came as Atlantic City casinos and their online partners put the finishing touches on their Internet gambling systems and looked for bugs that still needed to be fixed before the start of a five-day invitation-only trial period of Internet gambling. If all goes well, online gambling will be available statewide Nov. 26., the signature brand of, is partnered with the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa. It offered a look Tuesday at its global site, which company officials said is very similar to what New Jersey players will experience starting Thursday.

The site offers live poker in online rooms; card games including blackjack; table games including roulette, and several versions of slot machine games. On Sunday, the site sponsored a $200,000 poker tournament in which 1,139 people played.

"This is the type of featured event we hope to develop in New Jersey," said Jeffrey Haas, the site's director of poker.

Once a player registers and funds an account, rapid-fire gambling is just a mouse-click away. In the time it takes for a single roulette game at a casino, where players have to buy chips, place them on the table, then wait until dealers collect chips from losing bets and hand out chips for winnings ones, an online gambler can play a dozen games.

The state is also looking forward to a vote by Nevada casino regulators as soon as Thursday that would legalize multi-state slots jackpots -- something New Jersey has long wanted.


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