Bill Vetoed By Governor Christie

The sad news for internet gamblers is that Governor Chris Christie has vetoed the New Jersey gambling bill.

To be honest we are not surprised in the least, since many experts within the industry have predicted this. To add insult to injury, Christie has further political aspirations by running for presidential candidate in the next U.S election. The net result is, he does not want to tarnish his reputation with voters at this point in time.

Initially Governor Christie praised the bill’s intent-at the end it was all a smoke screen although he said that he supported the New Jersey gambling bill. The reason why he vetoed the bill is that the New Jersey’s constitution dictates that operators must be restricted to the territorial limits of Atlantic City.

The internet gambling bill S490 aimed to permit all residents of New Jersey to gamble online. The S490 requires that the servers of potential operators must be located in Atlantic City and that wagers would originate from Atlantic City, irrespective if the player is from a different state. Christie said, “As I see it, the creation of legal fiction deeming all wagers “coming from” Atlantic City is not in a position to override the clear-cut language of the state Constitution.”

Additional uncertainties were also pointed out by the governor. The New Jersey bill states; any revenue harvested from operators within the state should be utilised to financially support horse racing. Christie aims to make horse racing an independent industry altogether with no state subsidy, as a result he found this proposal objectionable. The governor said the S490 did not address the subject of commercial establishments outside Atlantic City the likes of bars, nightclubs and restaurants that offers internet gambling. In hindsight, this might lead to the creation of hubs outside of Atlantic City.

The veto had its share of drama. Joe Brennan of iMEGA and Democratic Senator Raymond Lesniak who championed the bill, claimed that they have been assured by the governor’s office that he would veto the bill. The initial idea was for Christie to team-up with Lesniak and add his name to the bill and then the Senator would re-introduce the bill to both houses the following week. It stands to reason that the governor might have been under severe pressure and rejected the bill outright.

The good news is that Senator Lesniak is still prepared to get internet gambling legalized in New Jersey. He said the following: “I look forward to working with Governor Christie and his administration in order to get Internet gambling up-and-running quickly. This is a once in a life time opportunity and we cannot let it slip through our fingers again.”



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