"Without the revenues from Internet gaming, at least one Atlantic City casino, and likely others, will have to close, costing thousands of jobs," Lesniak said.
Christie voiced doubts over the constitutionality of last year's bill and the possibility of illegal betting parlors. A Christie spokesman did not immediately return a message seeking comment Thursday.
Tony Rodio, president of the Tropicana Casino & Resort and head of the Casino Association of New Jersey, said the city's 12 casinos look forward to the start of online gambling, which he estimated would take between six months and a year to get up and running once the governor signs the bill.
"In addition to the jobs it would create and the tax revenue it would generate, the passing of this legislation is critical for the Atlantic City casino industry's ongoing revitalization efforts," he said. "It would set us apart from all other gaming jurisdictions."
The bill would legalize the online playing, for money, of any game offered at the 12 Atlantic City casinos, including poker. All computers, servers, monitoring rooms, and hubs used to conduct the online gambling would have to be located within Atlantic City.
The location issue was one that Christie cited when he vetoed an Internet gambling bill last year. But supporters of the bill have since solicited testimony from legal scholars that having the computer and other equipment located in the city would be enough to comply with the state constitution.
Other changes to the bill also were made since last year, including a provision that would have sent some of the proceeds to the horse racing industry, which Christie opposed. The governor has said repeatedly he wants the horse industry to stand on its own.
And the bill includes harsh penalties for anyone setting up an unlicensed backroom Internet betting operation. Violations would be fined $1,000 per player per day for making a premises available for placing illegal Internet bets, and $10,000 per violation for advertising that a premises might be used for such a purpose.
The bill would tax Internet gambling revenues at 10 percent, up from the 8 percent the casinos pay for money won on their premises.
It would impose an initial licensing fee of $200,000, plus annual fees of $200,000 to be split between state casino regulators and programs treating and combating compulsive gambling.
The bill would require that players be physically present in New Jersey, and that state regulators have access to technology that would verify a player's physical location. But it also contains a provision that would let New Jersey casinos take bets from elsewhere if the state Division of Gaming Enforcement determined that doing so would not violate federal law.