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New Jersey Legalizes Betting Exchanges

1 February 2011 by admin

chris-christie3Much of the gambling world, or at least the part located in the United States, is focused on New Jersey. The Garden State’s legislature became the first to pass intrastate online gambling legislation last month. Now we are only waiting on Republican Governor Chris Christie to sign the bill.

As we wait for the online gambling bill to be signed, people are getting nervous. People are giving all kinds of reasons for Christie not signing the bill (with the number one reason being that he’s a Republican!). People are giving all kinds of reasons why he should. Everyone seems to have their fingers crossed, but it seems like many in the gambling community are waiting to curse Christie’s name for not signing it.

Here’s the thing, though: Governor Christie doesn’t have to sign the bill. All he has to do is not veto it and he hasn’t done that yet, either. According to New Jersey’s constitution, once a bill reaches the governor, he has 45 days to either sign the bill, conditionally veto it and return it to the legislature or veto it absolutely. If the governor takes no action after 45 days, the bill becomes law.

This may be the route that Christie is taking. Republican leadership has traditionally opposed gambling expansion. While Christie is not a traditional Republican (in fact, neither are most of the Republicans elected in 2009 or 2010), he is a man many think will run for president in the near future, perhaps even in 2012. Having his signature on the first intrastate online gambling bill would rub some Republicans the wrong way, so Christie may see inaction as the wisest course of action. Of course, since he represents a pro-gambling state and has signed other pro-gambling legislation, even that theory doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. In any case, if Christie never picks up his pen, that’s a good thing for online gamblers. If he does, we’ll have to wait and see what he does with that pen. We will know within 20 days.

In the meantime, Christie has signed two gambling bills into law. Yesterday, Christie signed bills S-2229 and A-2926. The bills legalize exchange wagering and single-pool wagering in the state of New Jersey and those bills are intended to help the struggling racing industries in the state. After signing the bill, Christie released a statement that said the bills “represent the next steps in following through on my administration’s commitment to securing a strong, independent, self-sufficient horse-racing industry in New Jersey.”

The legalizing of betting exchanges and single-pool betting will also please some of the betting exchanges based in Europe, such as Betfair, who entered the U.S. market in 2009 by purchasing the television station TVG.

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