Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey, appeared on the local radio program Ask the Governor on Tuesday. Although the radio program, arranged by Trenton’s WKXW 101.5 FM, focused on economic and tax issues, one of the call-in questioners asked the governor about the online gambling bill. The online poker community is eagerly waiting for the governor’s decision on this bill.
The governor declined to make a clear statement of whether he would approve the bill or not. The governor can also refuse to take action on the bill and allow it to passively become a law. However, Chris Christie expressed two major concerns about the bill, which made several pro poker listeners feel that he might veto it. First, he expressed concerns about the effects of the bill on the state’s economy, and second, he spoke about the number of problem gamblers the bill might create if it became law.
Chris Christie had vetoed the bill back in 2011, and if vetoed again this year, the bill could expire although a huge majority of both the legislative bodies of New Jersey had supported the original version of the bill.
Meanwhile, Chris Christie could be looking for a politically acceptable bill to permit the implementation of the online gambling measure while simultaneously securing his future with the Republicans, many of who are staunch opponents of online gambling legalization. Moreover, Christie’s centrist attitude on several key issues along with his willingness to rebuke stubborn Republicans has made him a favorite among members of both parties.
Recently, the Rational Group, which owns PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, announced its intention to acquire the struggling Atlantic Club Casino in Atlantic City. This could have played a slight role in wrecking the chances of New Jersey’s online gambling bill as the possible re-entry of PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker into New Jersey might have given opponents of online gambling legalization some more ammunition.