Governor Chris Christie signed bill A2578 into law within hours of it passing both the New Jersey Assembly and Senate by a landslide. New Jersey is now the third state to legalize online poker and the second state to legalize online casino games in the US. Nevada passed online poker regulations in December 2011, while Delaware passed both online poker and casino games in June 2012.
Governor Christie had conditionally vetoed the same bill earlier this month. The governor cited concerns over problem gambling funding, state employees, licensing and taxes. The New Jersey Legislature rushed to pass these conditions that include an increase in problem gambling funding, more transparent and restrictive licensing and an increase in the tax from 10% to 15%. This is nearly double the 8% tax that is paid on brick and mortar wins by Atlantic City casinos.
The race is now on to get online gambling systems live. New Jersey could be a year behind its competing states. Nevada may have online poker offered by its commercial casinos live in the next six months. Delaware has set a self-imposed deadline of September 30, 2013 to get their lottery based online poker and casino games live.
New Jersey seems certain they can be live within a year. The state optimistically placed online gambling taxes in its 2013 budget. The fiscal year will start July 1, 2013.
Two brands that are expected to compete in the New Jersey online gambling market are PokerStars and the World Series of Poker. PokerStars is looking to acquire the Atlantic Club, while the World Series of Poker brand is majority-owned by Caesars Entertainment. The same company owns Atlantic City properties Caesars, Harrah’s, Showboat and Bally’s.
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