Reports from local media state that Republican Governor Chris Christie could choose to veto the state’s online gaming bill, refusing to allow its passage into the statute books. Last month, the New Jersey state legislature voted to pass a bill that would allow state residents to play online casino games.
Local media reports also speculate that Christie may be considering his candidacy for US President in 2012. The reports say that Christie may want to distance himself from the controversy surrounding online gaming so as not to alienate his party’s conservative membership.
The deadline for Christie to sign or veto the bill is 24 February. If Christie vetoes the bill, the legislature can override the veto if the measure wins a two-thirds majority vote. If he takes no action, the bill becomes law automatically.
The new law would allow the state’s casinos, housed in Atlantic City, to apply for licenses to develop online gaming sites. The state would bring in extra revenue from license fees and taxes on the site’s proceeds. The creation of these sites is expected to salvage the state’s crumbling casino industry and bring in thousands of jobs.
Other states, including California and Florida, are also considering the legalization of online casino games to raise tax revenues. However, the state laws may run counter to federal anti-gaming laws.
One of those laws is the Interstate Wire Act, which prohibits the use of communications equipment to carry gambling information. The other major hurdle is the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, which bars US-based banks from conducting transactions with online gaming sites.