New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is “scrutinizing the bills,” sent to his desk yesterday, one of which would, with his signature, make his state the first to officially regulate online gambling within its borders.
Offering the above quote to Bloomberg Businessweek, Michael Drewniak, Christie’s spokesman, “declined to elaborate or say whether the governor will sign them into law.”
The online gambling industry is hopeful, but the odds aren’t quite a sure thing.
“It’s not clear if Christie will move to block the online gambling bill, but he has expressed reservations previously,” reports NorthJersey.com.
Christie has 45 days to act on the bill, according to PokerNews.com. His options are to “sign the Internet gambling into law, conditionally veto it (returning it to the legislature for changes) or veto it absolutely.” If he takes no action, the bill becomes law by default after those 45 days have passed.
But Christie “is a Republican, and may receive a little pressure not to sign the bill because of the legal battle that will follow on a federal level,” points out Larry Rutherford at CasinoGamblingWeb.com.
If the bill is passed, Rutherford continues, a “key factor will be monitoring to ensure that only New Jersey residents gamble at the online sites.”
“While it’s always possible that Christie might choose not to sign the bill, the bipartisan support shown in both the Senate (where it passed 29-5) and Assembly would mean he’d have to come up with a pretty good argument for rejecting it,” argues Peter Amsel at CalvinAyre.com. “Especially when Lesniak would counter with the argument that Christie was preventing the creation of 500 high-tech jobs as well as denying the state some extra taxation revenue.”
That last point is probably the strongest, in light of figures released yesterday “by the state Casino Control Commission [that] show the city’s 11 casinos’ revenue was down nearly 10 percent in 2010, the fourth straight year it has dropped,” reports ABC News. “Over the last four years, Atlantic City has lost nearly a third of its casino business.”
That kind of economic incentive makes it more likely that Christie will sign the bill. If he does, the new law will go into effect on July 4, 2011.