New Jersey Governor Christie (pictured) expects to have legislation on his desk permitting online gambling in New Jersey—perhaps as early as the end of January. The US Justice Department recently said it would be legal for in-state residents to gamble online, and Christie—who vetoed the first proposal to allow Internet wagering last March—says an agreement with state senator Raymond Lesniak, the bill’s author, is near.
“He’s been willing to tighten up the language so that we don’t have Internet gaming warehouses popping up in suburbs all over New Jersey, which was one of the real risks we thought (possible) with the last bill, and that the horse racing subsidy is gone…”
So the real horserace is on. Which state will be the first to license, regulate, and tax intrastate poker within their borders. Right now it looks like New Jersey is leading, but Nevada could make a charge any day now, and even though Gov. Christie expects to see a bill reach his desk in the next few weeks, politics offers few guarantees.
Nevertheless, New Jersey would make a terrific test bed for intrastate online poker because it is populous enough to have enough of a player base to support a variety of games. And when that first state comes online and other states see its revenue stream, there’ll be a rush to bring poker to other cash-strapped states (that’s probably all of them) in short order.