Atlantic City by Ron Miguel
New Jersey became the third state in the U.S. to officially legalize online poker today.
As expected Governor Chris Christie signed an online gambling bill into law today after conditionally vetoing the bill earlier in the month.
Christie maintained he would sign the bill if the necessary changes were made.
The legislature had no problem amending the bill to increase operator tax from 10% to 15% and also added a 10-year expiration date.
Earlier in the day the bill passed through legislature with a vote of 31-1. Republican Senator Michael Doherty was the only member to vote against the bill. It passed through Assembly by a vote of 68-5.
New Jersey joins Nevada and Delaware as the only states in the U.S. to have fully legalized online poker. Nevada fast-tracked its bill into law earlier this month in response to New Jersey’s pending bill.
U.S. Players Still Waiting for First Legal Site to Launch
The next step for New Jersey, as well as Nevada and Delaware, is to actually launch a regulated online poker site.
Nevada has issued numerous online gaming licenses to major properties like Caesars, Station Casinos and MGM but no site has gone live yet.
There is no timetable although some Internet gaming experts are predicting sites will be online before the end of the year.
There are questions as to whether sites like Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars, which operated in the U.S. after 2006, will be allowed to apply for licenses in New Jersey.
The Rational Group, which owns PokerStars, recently announced plans to purchase The Atlantic Club in New Jersey.