Like other states such as California and Nevada, New Jersey has been taking a long, hard look at establishing legal online casino and poker sites that state residents could play on. Federal laws in the US currently prohibit US citizens from playing at online gambling sites but there are some provisions in the law to let individual states pass their own laws for intra-state online gambling.
New Jersey was just a signature of the governor away from passing legalized online gambling in the spring (with both state legislative houses passing the measure) but governor Chris Christie ultimately chose not to sign it, putting plans for legal online gambling in New Jersey on hold for now. The District of Columbia passed a similar law that legalizes online poker, and other states including California and Nevada are in the advanced stages of putting together their own online gambling bills.
Just as is the case when a brick and mortar casino opens, legalized online gambling could have meant more jobs for New Jersey — up to 60,000 new jobs according to a study completed by the Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association (iMEGA). While the types of jobs created would be far different than that of a traditional casino (with IT workers and customer service representatives being hired instead of blackjack dealers and cocktail waitresses), the net result is similar, with an estimated $500 million injected into New Jersey’s economy as well according to the iMEGA study.
With many US states wrestling with struggling economies and high unemployment more and more are looking at every way possible to shore up state finances, and online gambling is a natural fit, especially in states like New Jersey that already have brick-and-mortar casinos. The same residents that enjoy a night at the casino playing roulette or slots are likely to play at online sites as well, which could add much needed cash to many state budgets offering legal online sites.