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Christie Signs New Jersey Online Gambling Bill

Governor Chris Christie has warmed over the past two years to the idea of online gambling in New Jersey. Nothing speeds up a process, however, as quickly as competition, and that competition came from West Coast rival Nevada earlier this week.

Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval signed a bill that will allow Nevada to accept players from other states where online gambling is regulated. Nevada will have to form partnerships with these states to share customers, and Sandoval had an eye on New Jersey as a main target.

Knowing that time was running short, legislators in New Jersey finally made the necessary amendments to a bill Christie vetoed last week, and the governor signed the bill on Tuesday. The legislation will now begin a race between Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware to see which state can become the first to have operational online casinos.

"This was a critical decision, and one that I did not make lightly," said Governor Christie. "But with the proper regulatory framework and safeguards that I insisted on including in the bill, I am confident that we are offering a responsible yet exciting option that will make Atlantic City more competitive while also bringing financial benefits to New Jersey as a whole."

Among the changes that Christie insisted upon was a raise in tax rate on the Internet gambling from 10 to 15 percent. The governor also wanted a 10-year trial with the online gambling, allowing lawmakers to revisit the industries success after that 10-year period.

Atlantic City's gaming industry has been ravaged in recent years, first by the recession, and then by neighboring states that used the recession to expand their own casino industries. Pennsylvania has passed New Jersey as the second-largest gaming market in the US behind Nevada, and New Jersey lawmakers were intent on getting that title back.

The online gambling industry appears to be taking off in the US, with three states having passed regulatory legislation, and dozens of others considering doing the same. The federal government has been in no rush to regulate the billion dollar industry, but analysts believe that may change as states make the move towards regulated Internet gambling.

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