Online poker will soon be a reality in New Jersey after the “Act Authorizing Internet Gaming at Atlantic City Casinos under Certain Circumstances” became law.
It was a celebratory day yesterday for supporters of New Jersey´s iGaming legislature, as the amended Bill A2578 was passed by the New Jersey House of Representatives (68-5), the State Senate (35-1) and signed into law by Governor Chris Christie all within the same day.
The “Bill”, which was given a conditional veto by Christie earlier this month, still insists that the servers for online gaming are physically located within authorized and licensed brick and mortar casinos in Atlantic City, but has adopted all the Governor´s recommended changes.
What is New in the Act
Much of what was includes in the original legislation passed in December 2012 still remains. Players must be within New Jersey´s borders to play poker online – although not necessarily residents of New Jersey and certain exclusions apply – and a compact is included in the Act to allow player pools to be shared with other States that have passed compatible online poker legislation.
What is new in the Act is that online gaming companies will be required to pay 15 percent revenue tax (up from 10 percent), internet gaming licensees will not be allowed to hold employment consecutively at an Atlantic City casino and that the Act will have a 10-year “sunset”, after which it has to be reviewed and continued, or scrapped.
Christie´s Critical Decision
Following the announcement of the “Act Authorizing Internet Gaming at Atlantic City Casinos under Certain Circumstances” becoming law, Governor Chris Christie issued a press release in which he stated that the passage of Bill A2578 had included a “critical decision”.
I am pleased to say that today I signed New Jersey’s Internet Gaming Bill, opening the way for new opportunity to bolster our efforts to continue the revival of Atlantic City, its casinos and entertainment offerings. This was a critical decision, and one that I did not make lightly. But with the proper regulatory framework and safeguards that I insisted on including in the bill, I am confident that 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. I want to thank the sponsors for working quickly to include my recommendations to improve the bill.
What Happens Now?
According to the time schedule within the Act, there will be a minimum of 90 days after the bill’s passage before games are offered – but no more than 180 days – subject to successful applications being made to New Jersey´s Division of Gaming Enforcement and the software meeting certain standards.
Pessimist´s who believed that it may take up to two years for the doors to open on New Jersey´s virtual casinos were later relieved to hear that Senator Christie included in his 2014 State budget provisional revenue of $200 million from online gambling – implying that the first sites offering online poker within New Jersey could be operative as early as this fall.