CHRISTIE SIGNS NEW JERSEY ONLINE GAMBLING BILL
26 February 2013
By Aaron Todd
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed into a law Tuesday a bill that makes the Garden State the third state in the U.S. to license and regulate the online gambling. Christie’s stamp of approval comes just 19 days after he conditionally vetoed similar legislation.
“This was a critical decision, and one that I did not make lightly,” Christie said in a statement. “But with the proper regulatory framework and safeguards that I insisted on including in the bill, I am confident that we are offering a responsible yet exciting option that will make Atlantic City more competitive while also bringing financial benefits to New Jersey as a whole.”
Like Delaware, New Jersey’s online casino operators will be able to offer any games that are available at brick-and-mortar casinos. Nevada expanded the scope of its online poker only regulations last week.
There was little doubt as to whether the revised legislation would pass. In his conditional veto, Christie requested changes to the tax rate (increasing it from 10 to 15 percent of gross gaming revenue), additional money for problem gambling groups and a 10-year sunset period.
Sen. Ray Lesniak, one of the bill’s most ardent supporters, indicated in earlier media reports that those changes would pass easily, and he was right. The bill passed 68-5 in the Assembly and 34-1 in the Senate. Less than an hour later, Christie signed the bill into law.
“New Jersey has gone ‘all in.'” said John Pappas, executive director of the Poker Players Alliance. “Residents now will have access to a safe and regulated online gaming market, and the state will have a new source for revenue and job creation — something the federal government has failed to do thus far.”