State casino regulators are asking for public comment on three proposed Internet gambling rules scheduled to be finalized in early 2016.

One rule would allow operators of online casinos to pay celebrities a fee to play peer-to-peer games, such as Internet poker, with customers as a promotional strategy. Companies may choose to pay the celebrities by funding the stars’ accounts and allowing them to retain winnings.

The state Division of Gaming Enforcement also wants to revise an existing regulation that requires Internet casinos’ servers to be stored within Atlantic City casino-hotels.

The new rule would allow the servers to be located in another Atlantic City property, provided the property is secure, owned or leased by the casino licensee, inaccessible to the public and specifically designed to house the equipment.

Another proposed rule would allow patrons to use money in their online casino accounts to play social games, which can include casino games such as slots and cards. The games do not pay out real money; customers play them out of enjoyment and to interact with other players online.

The rule would allow players to use site accounts to play the games “provided that the operator provides a clear and conspicuous notice ... that such social games are not regulated by the division,” agency papers state.

All three rules have been in effect since late last year, when they were promulgated and sent to Gov. Chris Christie’s office for final consideration. The DGE plans to have the rules finalized and written into the state register after the public-comment period expires Feb. 6.

Internet gambling is legal in three states, including New Jersey, where the practice began in November 2013. The state’s legal Internet casinos generated about $122.9 million in revenue in 2014 — far less than widely predicted. The industry has fared better this year, with revenue increasing 17.6 percent to $121.6 million through October.

Contact: 609-272-7239

Copy desk chief / comics blogger

Print Director

Press copy editor since 2006, copy desk chief since 2014. Masters in journalism from Temple University, 2006. My weekly comics blog, Wednesday Morning Quarterback, appears Wednesday mornings at PressofAC.com.

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