Update:New Jersey Gambling Bill Delayed

New Jersey places Internet gambling bill in the back burner yet again

For the time being intrastate gambling legislation in New Jersey has hit the doldrums yet again since Governor Chris Christie relied on constitutional provisions. As a result he decided to delay Senator Raymond Lesniak’s internet gambling bill S3019 for now.

Sen.Lesniak said that he aimed to use Department of Justice’s (DoJ) new policy toward internet gambling to his advantage and to push the legalization of his S3019 bill toward the Assembly and Senate committees on Thursday as quickly as possible.

Why The Bill Experienced A Set Back

Unfortunately, Sen Lesniak and Gov. Christie’s dispute continued when Christie denied Lesniak’s previous legalization attempt by vetoing it based on constitutional grounds irrespective of the majority legislative approval. Christie now cites constitutional concerns, basically this could be seen as yet another delaying tactic.

The senator said in his Wednesday statement to the local media that he spoke to the governor and agreed to delay the reintroduction of internet gambling legalization for the first couple of weeks of the next Legislative session: “I expect that we can get it through the Legislature and signed by the Governor within the first few weeks of the new session.”

He also indicated that the governor has a few reservations and legal questions on the bill, one of them being whether it has to be put to voters on a ballot as a constitutional amendment.

“There are competing opinions on that within the administration and within the industry. But I am convinced that we can move forward and get it up and rolling without amending the constitution.” Lesniak said.

In his previous attempt most of the provisions in the draft version of the last bill are included, they are: licenses issued and governed by the Casino Control Commission; servers in Atlantic City and wagering restricted to New Jersey citizens only; 21 years is the minimum age limit to gamble online. Card games restricted to those available in Atlantic City land casinos; clamping down on advertising campaign; and a certain amount of cash generated will be given toward the state’s ailing horse racing industry.

Lesniak is positive that his latest internet gambling bill addresses most of the governor’s previous concerns, especially his desire to keep the most important operations in Atlantic City. There are some indications that the senator’s new bill has found favor by Christie. He said: “I think New Jersey should be in that internet gambling business but I want to do it right. I do not want to rush and get legislation that either doesn’t pass state constitutional muster, or creates other problems for us.”



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