Online poker proponents enjoyed some encouraging news on Thursday, after New Jersey Governor Chris Christie strongly signaled he intends to pass the state’s online gambling bill provided a few minor conditions were first met.
“I have concluded that now is the time for our State to move forward, again leading the way for the nation, by becoming one of the first States to permit Internet gaming,” explained Governor Christie on Thursday.
Amongst the minor changes to the bill proposed by New Jersey’s 55th Governor was an increase in taxes levied on operators from 10% to 15%, extra funding to prevent problem gambling, and a ten year expiration period after which the law will need to be reviewed and renewed.
The amended online gambling bill now return to the state legislators for approval and is expected to pass in both the State Senate and Assembly, before being presented once more to Governor Christie to sign into law.
Following news that online gambling could soon be legal in New Jersey, some of the biggest gambling brands in the state enjoyed a boost to their stocks, including MGM, Boyd and Caesars. However, many other online companies also saw their share prices increase, such as Zynga, bwin.Party, 888, William Hill, Betfair and Playtech.
The world’s biggest online poker business, PokerStars also welcomed the good news, especially as the company recently bought an Atlantic City casino in anticipation of the bills safe passage. Purchase of The Atlantic Club Casino Hotel on the Boardwalk is expected to safeguard up to 2000 jobs, and issuing a statement following Thursday’s development, a PokerStars spokesperson commented:
“We have consistently said that this bill will drive economic development and job creation in New Jersey and are committed to play our part in that process.”