Jun 6, 2001 8:25 PM

In the wake of Nevada's passage this week of an online gaming bill, sponsors of similar legislation in Atlantic City are sore that their bill is languishing in committee, the victim of opposition from skeptical casino bosses.

Assemblymen Anthony Impreveduto and Neil Cohen, both northern New Jersey Democrats, blame the Republican-controlled Legislature ”” and particularly Sen. Bill Gormley, the powerful chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the gaming industry's chief advocate in Trenton ”” for keeping the bill bottled up.

Impreveduto told The Press of Atlantic City that failure to move on the bill, which would allow Atlantic City's casinos to offer their games online, will cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.

He went on to blast Gormley as "the guru of the casino industry" and called New Jersey "an ostrich with its head in the sand."

Gormley was not available for comment, according to the report.

Speaking for the city's 12 casinos, Timothy Wilmott, a top Harrah's executive who presides over the Casino Association of New Jersey, said there are too many issues that remain unclear regarding online gaming and advised a wait-and-see attitude until Nevada moves forward.

The Nevada Senate passed a bill at the end of the legislative session Monday that authorizes state gaming regulators to develop rules and safeguards for Nevada casinos to offer their games online, provided this can be done without violating existing state and federal laws.

The Assembly passed the bill in April.

Gov. Kenny Guinn has said he will sign the bill into law.