ATLANTIC CITY - Beginning Thursday, a small group of New Jersey gamblers will be able to log on and test their luck against some of the best gamblers in the state without leaving their living room.

Internet gaming is launching with a soft opening for a few hundred players before it opens to the public on Tuesday.

Local officials hope it's a jackpot for the casino industry.

"No one knows what Internet gaming is going to do, we're all hoping it does well," says Atlantic City Mayor-elect Don Guardian. "I saw the projections... $70-90 million in the first year."

Professional poker player Scott Baumstein will participate in the soft opening. "It's probably a lot less intimidating playing online than it is going into a live casino for the first time if you've never played poker before," he says.

The availability of Internet gaming needs to translate into a renewed interest in tourism in order for that success to have an impact on Atlantic City. "Online gaming, specifically poker, builds new players that then go into and play in live casinos," Baumstein says.

Players must be in New Jersey to gamble online. Any game you can play in a casino is also available online.