New Jersey Governor Signs First Gambling Laws

Published on: February 6, 2011 

New Jersey has taken yet another step towards gambling expansion after Republican Governor, Chris Christie, signed legislation into law this week that will result in the state enjoying exchange and pari-mutuel wagering.

Exchange wagering was pioneered by London-based Betfair and is aimed at attracting younger, computer-savvy gamblers.  It has so far proven to be very popular in Europe and Australia.

Supporters in the United States, where Betfair acquired wagering operator TVG two years ago, now believe that it will be a boost to horse racing in America.

In a news release after signing the bill, Governor Chris Christie said “We are providing new tools to help the industry implement new strategies, generate additional revenue and capitalize on interest in horse racing around the state.”  He added that the new laws represent the next steps in following on his administration’s commitment to secure an independent and strong horseracing industry in New Jersey.

Although California passed an exchange wagering bill in August, 2010, the law will not go into effect until May, 2012.

After signing the exchange betting bill, Christie issued a “conditional veto” against a bill to expand off-track and account wagering facilities in New Jersey.  He wishes to revise the bill so as to allow the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority to keep its off-track wagering licenses.

The off-track betting expansion bill will automatically become law if the New Jersey legislature agrees with the governor’s revisions.

The Republican Governor gave S-2229 and A-2926 the final thumbs up after it moved successfully through all the other channels until it reached its final stop on his desk.

Gambling lobbyists are now eagerly waiting to see if and when Christie will okay S-490 that will see New Jersey become the first state in the United States to allow online gambling to its residents.

Democrats Craig Coughlin, Annette Quijano and John Burzichelli introduced A-2926 in a bid to increase interest in New Jersey’s floundering horseracing industry.

The act basically allows the New Jersey Racing Commission to issue a license to the state’s sports authority to run a betting exchange while S-2229 allows racetrack permit holders to provide a pari-mutuel pool of every running horse race.

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