Silence in New Jersey

New Jersey regulators at press time were waiting for Governor Chris Christie to sign the online gaming bill passed by the legislature in early January.

Christie, a former U.S. attorney, was reportedly tapping his sources in the Department of Justice to find out what the reaction would be if his state legalized intrastate online gaming. Christie is reportedly concerned with any extensive time and expense that might be required to defend the measure if he signs it. He was elected in 2009 on a pledge to reduce the cost of government.

The bill would legalize online gaming inside the borders of the state. The Atlantic City casinos would host the games, with the servers located inside their facilities. All casino games would be permitted, but not sports betting. The bill mentions sports betting, permitting it if New Jersey residents approve (a referendum is being held next November) and the federal government drops its ban on the wagers. Operators would be charged 38 percent tax on gross gaming revenue, which would drop to 18 percent in five years when a 20 percent subsidy for racetracks expires.

If Christie does nothing, the bill becomes law in 45 days. He could choose a conditional veto as well, sending the bill back to the legislature to fix one or more parts of the law.