In December of last year, the New Jersey State Senate passed Bill A2578 by a vote of 33-3. If Bill A2578 is passed into law then it will allow casino operators in Atlantic City to begin offering online casino games including online poker.
The only thing holding back Bill A2578 right now is Governor Christie’s signature. Governor Christie has yet to sign the bill into law and from an interview today by John Pappas it appears that the Governor has yet to make his mind up on Bill A2578.
Today, John Pappas, who is the executive director of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), met with one of Governor Christie’s aides in Trenton, New Jersey to discuss any the lingering concerns that the Governor has expressed about signing the bill into law.
Before deciding on whether to sign Bill A2578 into law, Governor Christie wanted to learn more about player protection and what the economic benefits would be. According to John Pappas, the interview went “excellent” today in Trenton.
One major concern with the bill was that it could “promote” problem gambling in New Jersey. However, if Governor Christie did a bit of research he’d understand that online poker is more vigorously tracked than any land-based casino in Atlantic City.
The Governor wants to ensure the land-based casino industry doesn’t suffer either and that’s a fair point. However, casinos in AC would be able to use online gambling to lure people to the city that wouldn’t have otherwise considered heading to Atlantic City.
For instance, AC casinos could offer a comps program that rewards online poker players with free rooms to get them to the city. Or in another example, casinos in Atlantic City would be able to run online satellites to special live tournaments hosted in AC.
Governor Christie has until February 7th 2013 to sign Bill A2578 into law and we’ll make sure we update you once he had made his decision on the matter. Pappas expects the decision to be made next week, as the Governor has yet to make his mind up.
Is 2nd Time A Charm for Online Poker in Iowa?
The Iowa State Senate voted 29-20 in March 2012 to pass a bill that would legalize online poker, but the bill was shutdown by the State House of Representatives last year. However, SSB 1068 was introduced last week and is Iowa’s 2nd chance at online poker.
If SSB 1068 is approved by the committee it will move to the State Senate again. Based on research conducted in Iowa it’s unlikely that online poker will be passed into law, as there is opposition from the residents that currently don’t approve of online poker.
The fight for regulated online poker is still ongoing and looks like it will be a long process. The only two states that have legalized online poker at the state level are Nevada and Delaware, but regulated online poker action hasn’t started yet in either state.