New Jersey set to enter the online gaming arena
Chris Christie, the Governor of New Jersey, is set to sign an online gaming bill very soon. The move will officially legalise Online Poker and Online Games in the state of New Jersey and will bring a new avenue of revenue to the local and national economy. Christie conditionally vetoed the bill earlier in February but now the Assembly and Senate are due to vote on the bill. If permitted, the bill will instantly be delivered to Chris Christie’s desk in order for him to sign it into law. Some sources within the state have already labelled the hearing as “a formality” meaning that New Jersey would become the third state, along with Delaware and Nevada, to legalise E-gaming.
Those closest to the matter were taken aback by the veto on February 7th by the governor because he prevented a similar bill back in 2011 due to concerns over gambling addiction and the negative effect E-gaming would have on land-based casino revenue. None were more surprised than Raymond Lesniak, the bill sponsor. Lesniak believed Christie would at the most call for the bill to be a Poker-only legislation. Christie, when presented with the bill proposal for the second time, raised the online winnings tax from 10% to 15% and recommended that the bill be reviewed after 10 years. These amendments to the bill were welcomed by Lesniak who stated that the governor’s involvement and acceptance of the bill was “better late than never”.
The impetus is now with the online gaming operators who will be vying for a slice of the online gaming market that is projected to generate around US$410 million in gross revenue stemming from the 8.8 million New Jersey residents. That figure is expected to rise to US$590 within the first four years of operation. There are various land-based casinos that will be working towards transferring their players to their online offering should the bill be passed. Boyd Gaming and Caesars Entertainment already have a strong presence in the New Jersey market and will hope their relationship with players can increase their online gaming revenue. With more and more states amending their current laws regarding online gaming, the industry is gearing up for what could be the first of many new markets to open up. Players and potential players could be presented with more casinos to play at and more prizes to win soon.