UPDATE: NJ Gov. Christie Pushes for Online Gambling (ZNGA) (BYD) (CZR)

February 7, 2013 1:41 PM EST
(Updated - February 7, 2013 2:30 PM EST)

Boyd Gaming (NYSE: BYD), Caesars Entertainment (Nasdaq: CZR), and Zynga (Nasdaq: ZNGA) popped higher this afternoon following reports that New Jersey governor Chris Christie may be in support of online gaming.

According to Dow Jones headlines, Christie asked for minor changes to a bill allowing online gambling. Any support for Christie may make New Jersey one of the first states to legalize the measure.

UPDATE - Christie sent the bill back to lawmakers with changed, which included placing a 10-year trial period into the law. He rejected an earlier bill in March 2011, saying it wouldn't contribute to an Atlantic City revival.

With New Jersey facing six-straight years of declining revenue, Christie -- who is a first-term Republican looking for re-election -- is pulling out all the stops to turn around the state's fortunes.

Senator Raymond Lesniak sponsored the initial bill and believes it will be "wildly successful," bringing in millions of dollars to the state. He expects changes to be approved by the Assembly this month and the Senate in March, Bloomberg noted today.

State that currently allow Internet betting include Nevada and Delaware. Mississippi, California, and Hawaii lawmakers are also seeking approval.

Since 2007, revenue in Atlantic City has been on a downtrend. Neighboring Pennsylvania passed the one-time mecca as second-largest gaming spot in the U.S. behind Las Vegas with revs of $3.16 billion in 2012.

Shares of Boyd are up 5.6, Caesars is up 7.8, and Zynga is 1 percent better Thursday.

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