After a long process with multiple revisions and amendments, New Jersey has finally gone all in with online gambling. The state legislature passed the latest amendments to the online gambling bill early yesterday afternoon, and Governor Chris Christie signed the bill into law last night.
Christie says the new law will yield significantly higher revenue for the state’s ailing economy, while also providing a new lease on life for Atlantic City casinos. The casinos are expected to report year end revenues on June 30 of approximately $235 million, but with legalized online gambling, analysts expect revenues will increase another $200 million in 2014.
“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.”
Earlier this month, Christie had conditionally vetoed a previous draft of the online gambling bill. The Governor said he agreed with the principle of the bill, but he felt to best serve and protect New Jersey residents, a few additional amendments were required. The biggest change includes a 10 year trial period for legalized online gambling after which, New Jersey lawmakers can choose to continue the law or revoke it.
Despite the trial run period, the new law was welcomed by players, politicians, and especially international gaming companies. Earlier this year, PokerStars announced its bid to purchase the Atlantic Club casino on the boardwalk, but many pundits were concerned that the online poker room would walk away from the deal if the internet betting bill wasn’t approved. Christie’s signature all but assures the deal will proceed, while also opening the New Jersey gambling market to dozens of international gaming companies – an untapped market worth an estimated $1 billion.
New Jersey has become the third state to legalize online gambling after Nevada and Delaware.