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NJ Waiting On Governor Decision On I-Gaming Bill

Top State Official Has Until Feb. 3 To Sign Or Veto Legislation


After a rush of voting last month, New Jersey’s online gambling bill is in Gov. Chris Christie’s hands. He has until Feb. 3 to sign or veto the legislation.

This bill would allow casino games, including poker, to be offered on the Internet to New Jersey residents and to players outside of the Garden State if officials determine doing so is legal.

New Jersey released a report right before the end of 2012 which discussed the possible fiscal impact of such an activity being approved. The report described the uncertainty with predicting the figures since online gaming has never existed in such a way in the United States for an complete and thorough study. The industry has wallowed in a gray area for years.

The lack of precise data might not matter much for the decision of Gov. Christie, who has long looked for ways to help the state’s struggling brick-and-mortar casino industry and other gambling businesses. However, he did veto a similar bill in 2011.

Much has changed since Gov. Christie’s veto. The federal government has relaxed its stance on intrastate online gambling, Nevada and Delaware have legalized the activity within their borders and a recent hurricane has further damaged Atlantic City’s performance.

State lotteries have also gotten into the mix and a federal online poker bill still looms in the horizon as a way to allow all states to get in on the action at once.

Atlantic City’s slumber could get deeper as other states in the region look to build more land-based casinos and might one day OK web gaming as well.

About a year ago, the governor explained his veto and stance on the idea.

“I think [New Jersey] should be an epicenter for [the Internet gaming] business, but I want to do it right — I do not want to rush and get legislation that either doesn’t pass state constitutional muster, or creates other problems for us,” he said.