The New Jersey Online Gaming Bill is expected to be signed into law after a 2 P.M EST vote in the State Senate and subsequent signature from Governor Chris Christie. The new legislation will legalize online poker and casino games that are offered in the land based Atlantic City casinos.
The new legislation is set to become law after several attempts to pass a bill through the Governor’s office. Over the past two years, State Senator Raymond Lesniak led the regulation fight and put forth legislation that was vetoed by Governor Christie. In addition to the Governor’s disapproval, the online gaming bill faced opposition from horse tracks and other advocacy groups.
Despite the obstacles, the State Senate was able to build a similar bill that garnered a conditional veto from the Governor on 7 February 2013. Governor Christie offered a signature on the conditions of a 15% tax on online winnings, a two-fold increase of the licensing fees, a future review of the industry, and a disclosure of state senate ties to gambling entities. The State Senate is expected to amend the bill to cater to the conditions.
New Jersey becomes the third state to regulate online gaming in state after Nevada and Delaware enacted their own respective legislation. The three states are expected to form a compact in the future, although the exact details of such agreement remain unknown. Also, New Jersey will become the first state to offer casino games other than poker in its online product.
Given the expected legislation, Casino operators, Caesar’s Entertainment and Boyd Gaming, will be eager to become the first company to offer an online product. Although legislation is set to be enacted soon, online products will not be available for some time due to development and testing.
The new legislation signals the start of online poker regulation in the United States. These three states will lead the way in the online poker regulation movement.