New Jersey residents have been waiting for legalized online poker and online casino gambling for a long time and it looks like this wait might be coming to an end. If passed the New Jersey online gambling legislation, Bill A2578, would fully legalize and regulate both online poker and online casino gambling. This is especially rare in the world of pro online gambling related legislation. Usually new online gambling laws around the United States focus exclusively on poker. New Jersey’s gambling bill would make it legal for residents to play all poker and casino games online for money. Atlantic City is the second largest gambling hub in the USA so it makes sense that New Jersey politicians would support regulating Internet gambling. They currently rake in a lot of money from the brick and mortar casinos like the Borgata, Tropicana, Taj Mahal and the other casinos in AC.
New Jersey Online Gambling Bill – A2578 – Timeline
- December 17th, 2012 – The full NJ assembly will vote on the pro online gambling law.
- December 20th, 2012 – The New Jersey Senate will vote on Bill A2578.
- December 21st – Unknown – New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will either sign Bill A2578 into law or he will Veto the bill.
New Jersey Online Gambling Bill – A2578 -Expected Outcome
- December 17th, 2012 – Bill A2578 passes the Assembly
- December 20th, 2012 – Bill A2578 passes the Senate
So the gambling bill is expected to pass in both the assembly and the Senate. This is what officials on both sides of the aisle are saying. The last time this bill went through the legislature it was also passed so getting this far is almost guaranteed. The next part is still unclear but almost every indicator points to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signing this online poker and casino bill into law. Here are a few reasons why I expect this to happen.
Governor Chris Christie said earlier this year that he will not consider any changes online gambling law until after the Presidential election. If he planned on vetoing the bill again he would have simply done so again earlier this year. He wanted to wait until after the election so BillA2578 was essentially placed on hold. Now, the elections are over. Basically, just considering this, we have a 50/50 chance of Gov. Christie signing this online gambling bill into law. The only reason he would want to wait is because one out of the two potential Presidential election outcomes would give him reason to pass this bill. So it was either:
- If President Obama is re-elected he will approve the bill.
- If Mitt Romney wins the election he will veto the bill.
- If President Obama is re-elected he will veto the bill.
- If Mitt Romney wins the election he will pass the bill.
Only Governor Christie and his staff know which scenario it is. There are a couple of other things that favor this bill being signed into law:
Hurricane Sandy – This bill will generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. New Jersey could use this money to not only rebuild after Hurricane Sandy but rebuild faster and to build things better. Any Governor would want to be known as the hero who saved the state after a horrible disaster.
Gov. Christie’s spat with the GOP – Chris Christie had a falling out with his fellow republicans during the days following Sandy. Christie was criticized by virtually all of his colleagues because of his kind words about President Obama. He was on the news walking through New Jersey with the President surveying the damage. Christie and Obama even hugged. This was all during the election when the race was still a toss-up. Fox News practically burned the Governor at the stake for his traitorous behavior and then later went on to blame him for Romney losing the election. They claimed that it was the perfect opportunity to hurt Obama by claiming that he was not helping New Jersey after Sandy. Of course nothing could be further from the truth and Christie showed that at the very least he has some dignity.
Christie may not be in the GOP’s good graces right now but he is certainly shining in the national spotlight. I can imagine “Chris Christie 2016″ bumper stickers are being designed right now. Who knows, he could even take a walk to the other side of the aisle. That may be taking it a little too far but he is certainly enjoying his status right now so doing something like legalizing online gambling in New Jersey doesn’t seem too far-fetched.
He could sign the pro Internet gambling bill into law before New Year’s Day. Online poker players, casino gamblers and gambling companies around the world will be watching things in New Jersey very closely over the next few weeks.
So what exactly does this gambling regulation law do?
- Anything offered in the Atlantic City casinos will be legal to do online.
- Generate millions of dollars instantly via ~$300,000 licensing fees. Most goes to the state but some goes to help people with gambling problems.
- 10% tax on gambling revenues.
What Happens If The NJ Gambling Bill Becomes Law?
It will take some time for the licensing process and there will be a lot of red tape to cut but many of the big casino corporations have already formed partnerships with existing online poker and casino software providers. They could easily have online poker rooms and casinos up and running within a couple of weeks, if not for the red tape.
The last thing you need to consider is Federal law. I doubt the DOJ will do anything since they know federal legalization is coming and they are already in bed with Pokerstars. I doubt legal Internet gambling in New Jersey will turn into something like the medical marijuana debacle, with federal agents raiding pot dispensaries. I suspect that the DOJ will leave licensed online casinos and poker rooms alone and go after the companies who have never stopped offering real money gambling services to Americans. This online gambling bill in New Jersey could be the pebble that starts the landslide.
I will keep you updated.
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