Governor Chris Christie chose to veto the online gambling bill proposed for the state of New Jersey this week. He had to make a decision by 3rd March otherwise the bill would be introduced with or without his consent. Unfortunately, for the online poker and online casino world, he decided to veto the bill.
It was not the news casino and poker players were hoping for. Approval of this bill would have seen New Jersey based gambling companies and casinos be eligible to set up online ventures and deliver a service to those both inside the state and outside the US. The amount of potential revenue it could have brought to New Jersey was mouth-watering. However, in the end, the Governor ruled against introducing the bill.
Governor Christie stated a number of reasons why he refused the bill. These included concerns for certain ‘legal and constitutional’ aspects of the bill.
It is a huge blow to online gamblers everywhere and there is a lot of cynicism surrounding the Governor’s decision. Despite giving reasons for his decision, some critics are suggesting his decision was politically motivated. There is talk that he has ambitions to run for the Presidency in the future and in order to do this must win favor with the Republican party. What better way to earn their support by backing a decision the Republicans brought in back in 2006 with the UIGEA and reject a proposed online gambling bill? Is it really that simple?
However, there are those who believe this vetoing of the bill could prove more beneficial for online gambling. The decision to veto might have eradicated potential revenue of up to $55 million but there is a federal bill being proposed by John Campbell and Barney Frank which would allow foreign based companies to offer a service to US-based players in a legal manner. This would offer a lot more choice and freedom to US players.
Whatever the genuine reasons for Governor Christie’s decision, his decision killed the possibility for legal online gambling in New Jersey, at least for now. It is also a massive blow for online gambling supporters in the state of Iowa that are currently looking to pass a similar bill. The silver lining to this grey cloud is that there are more bills in the pipeline offering US players more hope. For now though, the door of opportunity is firmly shut for those who dreamt of American firms providing an online gambling experience for American players. On the other hand, it can’t help but be felt that this is just a temporary postponement of the inevitable.