New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has signed a bill legalizing online gambling, adding his John Hancock hours after the state legislature passed a revised version with certain changes he wanted implemented. Among the changes are a 10-year trial period for online betting, and a tax increase from 10 percent to 15 percent on online winnings from Atlantic City casinos.
"This was a critical decision, and one that I did not make lightly," Christie said. "But with the proper regulatory framework and safeguards that I insisted on including in the bill, I am confident that we are offering a responsible yet exciting option that will make Atlantic City more competitive while also bringing financial benefits to New Jersey as a whole."
In signing the bill, New Jersey becomes just the third state in the U.S. to legalize Internet gambling. As luck would have it, the timing comes as the parent site of PokerStars, the world's largest online poker site, gears up to acquire The Atlantic Club Casino Hotel, a casino that's been struggling as of late.
It's also good news for the state of New Jersey, which figures to raise contributions to the state's Casino Revenue Fund from $235 million this year to $436 million next year, in large part because of expected online gambling revenue.