Gov. Chris Christie plans to take action today on a bill that would allow state residents to gamble online, before his deadline to decide expires, administration staff confirmed Wednesday evening.
But Sen. Ray Lesniak, D-Union, who pioneered the bill's concept of a Web-based gambling system solely for New Jersey residents, said he still had no idea Wednesday night whether Christie would sign the bill into law, kill it entirely or propose changes to the idea to accommodate legal concerns.
Christie had for months expressed skepticism about creating a so-called intrastate system of online portals, which would let customers who live in New Jersey and are of legal age to log on and play online versions of poker, blackjack and other table games.
Lesniak argued the system would allow the state to reap the benefits of online gaming traffic that currently profits the operators of illegal websites.
By specifying that the portals must be run by existing casinos licensed in New Jersey, and by saying that all computer servers for the portals must be situated in Atlantic County, Lesniak said legalizing intrastate online gambling would boost casino revenue by $100 million and would create 500 high-tech jobs in the region.
Lobbyists for online-gaming operators said this month that they were discussing the bill with the governor's legal counsel, focusing on how it could work within state law. Gambling is currently allowed only in Atlantic City under the state constitution.
Christie has set a morning news conference for 11 a.m.
Contact Juliet Fletcher: