New Jersey Governor Christie Vetoes Intrastate Online Gambling Bill
As many of you have heard by now, yesterday New Jersey Governor Chris Christie vetoed a bill that would have enabled New Jersey residents to place bets through websites operated by Atlantic City casinos. Many (including myself) saw this bill as a gateway to the legalization of online gaming in the United States.
The New Jersey State Constitution permits gambling only in Atlantic City, and placing servers to open up gambling over the internet threatened to violate the constitution, according to Christie’s veto message. His message added:
In my view, the creation of a legal fiction deeming all wagers to have ‘originated’ in Atlantic City cannot overcome the clear and unambiguous language of the State Constitution.
But all hope is not lost. Joe Brennan Jr., executive director of iMEGA (Interactive Media & Entertainment Gaming Association), admits the veto is a setback, but believes the Governor is willing to consider signing an amended version of the bill into law. New Jersey Senator Raymond Lesniak will likely take the Governor up on this offer. Further, Christie suggested the state legislature to ask voters to approve an online gambling measure by public referendum.
The New Jersey state legislature is not the only state legislature seeking implementation of intrastate online gambling. California, Florida, and Iowa are also moving in this direction.
In the meantime, offshore unregulated online casinos will continue to recognize large revenues while the state and federal lawmakers battle it out.