Gov. may not sign New Jersey Internet bill

Feb 21, 2011 8:05 PM

Internet gaming within the state of New Jersey seemed like a sure things when it was passed by the legislature on January 10. But, that may not be the case.

The bill needs the signature of Gov. Chris Christie. Speculators last week were developing a strong feeling he may elect not to sign it.

According to news reports, Christie "is being pushed in both directions." He has until Wednesday, Feb. 24 to veto the bill or it will become law.

Prior to the bill’s passage, it was strongly believed Christie was in favor of the plan, since lawmakers took the view it would go a long way toward giving a boost to the state’s 11 licensed casinos operating in Atlantic City.

That goal was exactly what Christie had said he was dedicated to achieving.

Supporters have estimated Internet gaming would generate some $10 million in added revenue per month. With a 23 percent tax on the revenue, the state could bank about $28 million annually.

The law would require anyone participating in the Internet gambling program to register with a licensed casino and prove both age and residency.

Oddly enough, one of the opponents of the bill is Caesars Entertainment Corp. (formerly Harrah’s Entertainment Inc.), an Atlantic City licensee. Caesars apparently fears New Jersey would be getting in the way of federal legislation that would approve Internet gambling on a national level. With gaming properties in many states, Caesars would much prefer to have national Internet gaming rather than just in New Jersey.

State supporters argue Caesars is only interested in protecting its Las Vegas gaming properties.

If Christie vetoes the bill, said a major sponsor, he will not try to override the veto.