Internet wagering

TRENTON-Internet gambling operated by Atlantic City casinos can begin as soon as the legislature approves certain terms, said Gov. Chris Christie this morning – and lawmakers immediately accepted the deal.

Yesterday Christie “conditionally” vetoed a bill to legalize wagering over the Web, the second time he has rejected the legislature’s proposal.

Today, he spelled out what conditions should be added to the measure to make it fly:

  • Atlantic City’s 12 casinos must pay a 10% tax on their take from online betting, although other casino revenue is taxed at 8%.
  • Rules and disclosures required for casino employees will apply to Internet gaming licensees.
  • More funds must be set aside for treatment of gambling addiction.

Christie said through a spokesman that he would approve the revised bill with a ten-year expiration date. After that, the law could be revised and renewed, “if appropriate.”

Atlantic County Assemblyman John Amodeo quickly made it clear that legislators sponsoring the bill agree to the amendments, and will try to have the revised measure back to Christie for signature as soon as possible.

He called legalizing online gaming “critical” to revitalization of Atlantic City, which has been a strong focus of the Christie administration.

Michael Frawley, head of the Atlantic Club casino which is in the process of being purchased Rational Group US Holdings, has made the same point.

Rational is the parent company of PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker. It is asking state gaming regulators for permission to become the first Internet gambling company to purchase an Atlantic City casino.

Frawley said this week that Rational plans to invest $30 million this year after the purchase is complete – and plans to invest $80 million total over the next five years.