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New Jersey Governor Chris Christie Not Sure If Online Poker 'Will Help Atlantic City'

Top Lawmaker Addresses Issue On 'Ask The Governor' Radio Show

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In a radio appearance Tuesday night, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie offered up some sobering words for those hoping for online poker in the Garden State.

When a caller asked him about the Internet gambling bill currently in his hands, Christie said he hasn’t “made a final decision yet” but that he’s “concerned” about whether the activity will actually help Atlantic City casinos, as well as more problem gambling.

Some are worried that brick-and-mortar traffic could be hurt by the games going online. Others argue the web games would compliment, promote, strengthen and so on, the games which take place in the live setting. Some cite widespread, although not exactly legal, U.S. online poker in the past bringing more action to the brick-and-mortar card rooms.

If Christie’s concern holds water, then casino firms and their technology partners might have better revenues, but jobs for those lower on the socioeconomic ladder could be lost.

“I’m concerned that it may drive traffic away from Atlantic City — that if people can gamble in their own homes on their laptops, why are they going to go to Atlantic City? And I think it’s contrary to what we’re trying to accomplish there,” Christie said.

As John Brennan pointed out in a blog post on Christie’s comments, the concern over whether the bill would benefit Atlantic City casino operators could be more complex. It’s reportedly not 100 percent guaranteed that Atlantic City would retain its monopoly on gambling if Internet gaming was authorized in the Garden State. Lawmakers don’t want “Internet cafes.”

With regards to problem gambling, Christie remarked:

“I’m also really concerned about setting up a whole new generation of addicted gamblers. You know, if you can sit on the edge on your bed on your laptop and gamble away the paycheck — that’s a lot different than making the decision to go down to Atlantic City.”

Those two points of Internet gambling criticism have long been debated by people with varying levels of support for or opposition to the idea of casino games on the web. Christie’s concerns have never been truly refuted or legitimized.

The bill currently sitting on the governor’s desk would keep the games intrastate, but they could eventually spill over to other jurisdictions should deals be brokered that fell into compliance with all applicable laws. Nevada has started looking at such partnerships.

The author of the legislation told Card Player this week that he wouldn’t bet for or against a Christie signature. He has until Feb. 4 to make a decision, though Christie said Tuesday that he will decide “in the next couple of days.”

Here’s the video of Christie’s response. It begins at 44:40.

 
 
 
 

Comments

notCIA
almost 2 years ago

Yeah, we wouldn't want personal freedom to be the defining issue and we wouldn't want AC casinos feeling like they have to compete for the gaming dollar and we want the government to be making these decisions. This sounds perfectly consistent with a "small government, personal freedom, free market" Republican platform. What a phony and people buy his bs.

 
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Colum
almost 2 years ago

So if Christie veto's the bill, New Jersey misses out on the entire online gambling business, which is happpening in several other states. They are pushing forward and those states will reap the rewards. Atlantic City will still continue to lose business and jobs. Without a catalyst to increase revenues AC will continue to decline. Online gambling will generate revenue and guaranteed constrution/technology jobs.
Picture New Jersey signing pacts with other states to support internet gambling. That is even more revenues for the state. Those casinos that would be running the online gaming would then infuse more money into AC, thus creating more jobs. IT'S SIMPLE BUSINESS!!
6+ years of declines will continue without a catalyst. The governor says he's worried people won't go to AC. They won't if it ends up being a run down dump, like it became in the 70's. Unless the casinos have the money they won't put it into AC. They will lay off more worker and casinos will close. With falling revenues year over year the properties will decline and with the property decline, you will see the public visits to AC decline. IT"S SIMPLE BUSINESS!!

When Vegas injected the money they made into their properties, values rose, attendance rose and state revenues rose. If the AC casinos don't get more revenue, forget it. The governor has not put out any ideas that have worked to increase traffic to AC, and after Sandy the job is even more difficult. So shoting down guarantied revenue and jobs without trying won't fix the growing problem, it will only get worse!

 
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xIcemanxx
almost 2 years ago

So it doesn't matter what law makers in his state want and have given him, it doesn't matter what the people and the casino's want it only matters what this omnipotent out of touch cow wants. Hello fatman, people are already sitting at home gambling on the interenet, NJ just isn't getting any money from it!

 
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Steve17
almost 2 years ago

Online gaming is a mixed bag for Atlantic City casinos. It will undoubtedly bring new casino revenues to the AC properties, but it will further reduce the need to actually visit the City and its 20,000 rooms and 12 casinos. Our live visitors numbers have already been decimated by new gaming opportunities in Eastern Pennsylvania and New York. And with the introduction of online wagering, we are giving our declining visitor base even less reason to visit our shores. And the employment opportunities of online gaming will probably not offset the continuing decline in live table game activity, an important source of casino jobs. The added profitability of online games will help AC casino's financial viability, but the accelerated decline in AC visitations could speed the closure of one or more of our marginal facilities. More helpful for AC would be the Legislation of Sports Betting, that can only take place at AC casinos and possibly NJ race tracks and their OTB's. This would give AC an advantage over our PA and NY gaming competition and create a new reason to actually visit AC casinos.

 
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Colum
almost 2 years ago

By the way. Your sports idea won't save those table game jobs. On top of that, do you really thing people will travel all the way to AC just because they can place a bet on a basketball game? People who bet already do it online or with a bookie. People in PA and NY won't travel all the way to AC to just place a sports bet unless its for a playoff or championship. Even then it would just be on a few weekends a year. That isn't enough to save those casinos or the table jobs. Sports books only add to the casino experience. The sports book doesn't bring in much revenue, hell in 2007 all of Vegas large sports books only brought in $145 million. That is only about $10 per casino. Not enough to make a big difference.

 
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Colum
almost 2 years ago

Those rooms are currently going empty. With competing state tapping into the market, those 2 casinos that you say online gaming will drive to close, will close very quickly. With online gaming as a source of added income, those casinos will never close. The need to have a physical location in AC will be needed. The license will go to the casinos over Joe-shmo. If the revenue stream is there to make running a casino profitable you won't have any closures. The table games wouldn't be going anywhere. People go to casinos for the social atmosphere with the gambling. They go with friends. People don't gamble online with friends. Online gaming will not cut into jobs. Those jobs will be gone with AC's continued decline vs. still being there due to casino expansion driven by increased earnings. Business need to spend money to constantly top the competition, in order to get the customers. Vegas has been doing it for years. That money they spend all goes into one job or another. The new experience is what brings in the customers. Stagnation in Vegas is the kiss of death to a casino. AC is stagnant and the casinos need income to grow.

 
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Colum
almost 2 years ago

I wish I could edit my post instead of having to start a new one for this simple statement.
If online gambling is vetoed, 2 casinos will close in the next year and the Poker Stars will bail on AC. How many jobs will be gone then? You have a guaranteed lose of jobs with veto vs. guaranteed new jobs with passage. It is a no brainer. Those money losing casinos are still in business because of the oppertunity online gaming brings. Growth! Without growth and profits you'll have BK's and unemployment. One more thing, the governor spoke of all the new gambler that online gambling would create. If that was actually the case then wouldn't those people want the real casino experience? Like all the people who started as online poker players and now play regularly in casinos.

 
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