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Eyes on New Jersey Online Gambling Bill

By: Shirley Spicer, Sunday February 27th 2011
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March 3, 2011 will be a critical day in the history of online gambling in the United States. It is the deadline for Governor Chris Christie to sign or reject the online gambling bill. If the governor lets this deadline go without taking any action the bill will deem to have been accepted and will automatically become law. But it is very clear that a seasoned politician like Christie will act one way or the other. And it is also expected that he will wait till the very last day before announcing his decision.

iMEGA is the organization that played a vital role in getting this bill through the New Jersey legislature. Joe Brennan Jr., the chairman of iMEGA, has been interacting with the governor's staff. Brennan has gone on record saying that he did not perceive any negative indications on the issue from the governor's office. He was informed that the governor was considering all points of view with an open mind, and wanted to be sure that the action he finally took was the correct course for the state.

When the bill was passed in January 2011 there was much positivism in the reports at the online casino news forums. However, of late, the sentiment has turned negative. The policy of the Republicans at the national level is against online gambling and it seems unlikely that Governor Christie will act against that policy. For if he was to do so he could jeopardize his future political career. At the same time he would not find it easy to turn down a bill that has bipartisan support from the local New Jersey legislators. And now he has been handed the excuse that he was looking for on a platter.

The Fairleigh Dickinson University Public Mind poll was made public this week and it hit the online gambling industry watchers like a thunder bolt. In brief, the survey revealed that New Jersey residents have said "no" to online gambling though they have given thumbs up to sports betting. 801 registered voters statewide were interviewed on telephone between February 7 and February 13. A large percentage of respondents covering 67% of the sample said they were against New Jersey casinos being permitted to offer casino gaming services to state residents over the Internet. Only 26% supported the idea. The team conducting the poll said that the statistical margin for error was plus or minus 3.5%. There was no differentiation in the response between Democrats and Republicans. However more women were opposed to the idea of legalized online gambling. There has been no official response from online gambling proponents to this survey.

All eyes are on Governor Chris Christie. Will he use the survey as an excuse and take the safe exit route? Or will he take the historic step and make New Jersey the first American state to offer legalized online gambling?

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Comment by: jukujaka On: March 02, 2011
I agree and too am a supported of the regulation of the gaming industry in the United States. Quite frankly it's really disappointing that the bureaucrats in the US haven't realized how great it would be to hone in on a piece of the actions which they're really loosing out on right now. In Canada and other parts of the globe the wheels are already in motion and it's not going to be all that long before we start seeing more and more governments take a proactive approach and different attitude towards internet gaming.
Comment by: rick geiger On: February 28, 2011
I'm a proponent of online gambling being fully legalized and this is the reply: The FDU survey was misleading and I managed a market research business for 3 yrs so I know what I am talking about. The question should have been: Should NJ businesses be allowed to do online gambling or should it only be non-New Jersey businesses??" Because those are the true options. In US over $6Billion is already be wagered online. Online gambling is an international business and it is not possible to stop their doing business via internet in the US. Other states will eventually approve it as well. Does NJ want tax and job benefits and safety regulation that come with legalized online gambling or not. This is what Gov Christie must review

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