Christie issues conditional veto on online poker bill

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Feb 07, 2013 Posted in Poker News | No Comments »

why-new-jersey-2Thursday was the deadline for the Governor of New Jersey to decide on whether an online gambling bill passed by the state legislature in December was going to become law. Governor Chris Christie had four options at his disposal in regards to the bill, and took the second worst one as far as poker players are concerned, but the second worst one n this case is still pretty good!

The bad news is that Governor Christie did not choose to sign the bill into law, and he did not let the deadline pass without making a decision (which automatically passes the bill); the good news is that Governor Christie didn’t veto the bill either. The option chosen by the Governor was to issue a conditional veto, asking the state legislature to amend the bill to his liking before he signs it.

The biggest cheerleader of the bill in New Jersey is State Senator Raymond Lesniak, who crafted the bill as well as the bill that passed last year, who was ecstatic with today’s news, saying that he and the other lawmakers would accept the governor’s terms and amend the bill to better fund problem gamblers, increase the taxation amount from 10% to 15%, and to limit the bill to 10 years, at which point the legislature will reevaluate it.

With passage of the bill a near-certainty at this point, New Jersey will now join Delaware and Nevada as the only states in the US with legalized online poker. With the tide moving in favor of legalization it’s likely that more and more states will jump on the online gaming bandwagon in 2013, and it’s not out of the realm of possibility that intra-state online gaming could turn into inter-state online gaming in the near future –Nevada is already laying the groundwork to pool players with other states.

Today’s decision by Governor Christie also paves the way for the return of PokerStars to the US market; this time in a 100% legal capacity. In the lead-up to the signing, PokerStars entered into a prohibitive deal with the struggling Atlantic Club Casino in Atlantic City. The deal would see PokerStars pay some $50 million for the property, contingent upon the New Jersey online gaming law passing.

So fasten your seatbelts US poker players because it looks like legalized online poker is gaining steam across the country. Other states that have already considered online gaming legislation include Mississippi, Massachusetts, Hawaii, California, and even Iowa.


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