New Jersey has become the third state in the United States to legalize online poker with Governor Chris Christie signing the bill today
The bill allows Atlantic City casinos to offer online versions of their casino games with Poker expected to be the most popular option.
Online play will not begin until the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement sets a start date; which could take between six to twelve months although State Senator Ray Lesniak is hoping for bets to hit the virtual tables by September.
“I think the fall is a somewhat aggressive timetable but certainly doable, particularly since we put our stamp of approval on this so quickly,” Lesniak said.
The Poker Players Alliance was delighted with the move and praised Governor Christie and New Jersey legislators for their efforts.
“New Jersey has gone all in,” Poker Players Alliance Executive Director John Pappas said.
“Residents now will have access to a safe and regulated online gaming market, and the state will have a new source for revenue and job creation – something the federal government has failed to do thus far.
“The U.S. represents the largest percentage of Internet poker players worldwide, so there is clearly a want and a need for a legal and regulated online gambling market.
“New Jersey will now serve as a leader in this thriving industry.”
New Jersey has joined Delaware and Nevada as the only states to legalize online poker but Pappas believes this could be the turning point that begins a succession of states legalizing online gambling.
“New Jersey’s online gambling market will serve as an example to pave the way for other states wanting to adopt similar structures and could potentially lead to online interstate gambling among participating states,” Pappas said.
“The online gambling industry in New Jersey is expected to grow to $1.5 billion over the next five years, providing up to $150 million in annual tax revenue to the state and bringing in thousands of high tech jobs.”
Senator Lesniak is hoping that New Jersey is aggressive in courting other states to use New Jersey as their example for online gambling regulation.
“We need to get aggressive in courting other states to hook up with us,” Lesniak said.
“I expect the momentum to grow once states see the success we’re having with it in New Jersey.”
The news has come as a boost to Pokerstars who are currently seeking approval to buy the Atlantic Club Hotel Casino allowing them to offer games to residents of New Jersey.