Posted 2/20/11 : With the deadline for signature approaching, what will governor Christie do?
The New York Post revved up speculation on the New Jersey bid to legalise online gambling (see previous InfoPowa reports) with a piece this week claiming that governor Chris Christie will not sign the bill into law.
The bill, authored by Sen. Ray Lesniak, enjoyed a remarkably fast passage through both state legislative bodies, achieving significant majority votes before being passed to the governor for signature.
Christie has three options: sign it; veto it and return it to the legislature for a further vote or ignore it and see it pass into law automatically after 45 days.
With only days to go until the deadline, the issue is being keenly watched by the industry and is seen as a possible forerunner for US states to individually decide the future of internet gambling in the world's biggest market.
However, Joe Brennan Jnr., who chairs the iMEGA online gambling action group, warns that because the legislature is currently in recess until March 4th, the governor may have a little more time to make his decision.
The New York Times quotes unnamed ‘insider' sources in claiming that there is pressure on governor Christie from both sides, but that it is likely he will not sign the bill into law.
Apparently the giant land gambling group Caesars Entertainment – which has online gambling ambitions too – wants to see a federal rather than state-by-state legalization process and is urging the governor not to give his approval to the New Jersey proposal.
The group has some clout in the region, operating four large casinos in Atlantic City.
Brennan, however, has said that this is not his perception following iMEGA meetings with the governor's staff, who apparently did not give any negative indications on the issue. They insisted that the governor was considering all points of view with an open mind, and wanted to be sure that passing the new law was the correct course for the state.