Some last minute lobbying is taking place as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s decision about the fate of the state’s latest online gambling bill is expected today. Observers have been divided in their expectations, as the governor has kept his opinion to himself, waiting until today’s deadline to announce his decision.
“I have thoughts for and I have thoughts against and I have to reconcile those and I will when I have to turn my homework in,” said Gov. Christie.
While Christie vetoed a similar legalization proposal in 2011, economic and legal circumstances have changed since then. Job retention issues in the industry and clarifications of the applicability of American gambling laws could prove to be decisive factors in his decision. While it is still uncertain whether these changes are sufficient to change his opinion, but proponents of legalization certainly hope so.
Among them is Michael Frawley, head of the Atlantic Club Casino Hotel, who spoke out in favor of legalizing online poker and casino games in New Jersey. He voiced his support it in no uncertain terms: “It’s really important for us. It’s also important for the city.”
“This is much more than just someone sitting in their living room with a computer,” added Frawley, attempting to place US internet casinos into a broader context.
Speaking of the interests of the local casino industry, Frawley expressed his expectations that “this could be the dawn of a new business model for Atlantic City to kind of come back.” He also referred to a report by Wells Fargo, according to which “$1.5 billion in added revenue for the state and $150 million in taxes” can be generated in the next five years.
A bit closer to home, legalized Internet gambling is also important for Frawley’s own casino, we might add. That is because major online operator Poker Stars has tabled plans to buy the Atlantic Club Casino Hotel, taking a big step towards re-establishing their online poker site in the US. Shelving legalization plans could also negatively impact the purchase.
Frawley’s comments follow those of the largest casino workers’ union, who recently also came out in favor of signing the bill.