Online gambling took another big step in the United States after New Jersey legalized online poker and casino games. Governor Chris Christie signed the bill into effect today, making New Jersey just the third state behind Delaware and Nevada to legalize internet gambling.
After vetoing previous gaming bills in 2011 and early 2013, Christie finally approved the legislation this time around. The big reason why was that this bill made certain amendments to Christie’s liking such as raising funds for gambling addiction programs from $150,000 to $250,000, and increasing taxes on online gaming revenues from 10% to 15%.
Another major reason why Christie eventually passed this online gaming bill was because of New Jersey State Senator Ray Lesniak. After being rejected last month, Lesniak reworked the bill and got it back on Governor Christie’s desk. He stated:
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. It’s been an unnecessarily long road, but we finally got there. It’s a relief. I didn’t want to have to go through this a third time, but I’ll tell you I was prepared to. The governor knew I wasn’t going away, and unfortunately neither were the problems of Atlantic City.
From the get go, the governor has been on the wrong side of what is necessary to save jobs in Atlantic City and grow the gaming industry there and in the state. It was a real struggle to get him to change his viewpoint, but thankfully he did. Better late than never.
Helping revive Atlantic City was a big selling point in getting this bill passed. Atlantic City has seen its casino revenue decline from a peak of $5 billion in 2006 to $3 billion in 2012. Now the city’s casinos will be able to offer online poker and casino games to both state residents and visitors.
This certainly works out in PokerStars’ favor, which purchased the Atlantic Club Casino just weeks ago in anticipation of legalized New Jersey online gambling. Now it’s looking more and more likely that Stars will be able to gain a foothold in the US online poker scene again.