A bill to legalize online gambling in New Jersey was approved by the Assembly Budget and Appropriations Committee on a vote of 6-0 with three committee members abstaining.
After already clearing the Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee, A2578 now goes to the Assembly, where a full vote will be cast. A similar bill is currently before the state Senate, but Gov. Chris Christie's waffling on the issue and desire to postpone the matter until later in the year has stifled lawmakers who are trying to bring much needed revenue to the Garden State.
Casino gambling expansion in neighboring states of Maryland, Pennsylvania and Delaware have hurt the Atlantic City casinos, forcing New Jersey lawmakers to push for online measures that could retrieve the lost revenue. However, committees and assemblies can only go so far when the state's main lawmaker sits on the fence and stalls the advancement of legislation.
Christie vetoed a proposal to legalize online gambling last year, changed course and said that New Jersey "should be in that [online gambling] business" following a ruling by the U.S. Department of Justice in December that found the 1961 Wire Act to be applicable only to sports betting, and has sidestepped the issue as of late.