Online Gambling in New Jersey Vetoed

03 March 2011

“If the Legislature believes that expanding gambling outside of Atlantic City is in the best interests of the State of New Jersey, it should place the question on the ballot for the voters to decide.” That is the message offered by Governor Christie as he vetoed the online gambling bill in New Jersey.

Gov. Christie also echoed in his message what others have said he was concerned about as well and that was the State Constitution. He had what he called “significant concerns” that by having the servers in Atlantic City it would wholly satisfy the constitutional requirement in New Jersey.

In his veto message he said “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.”

Voters approved gambling in Atlantic City in the mid 70’s but that was two years after they rejected statewide gambling. In a recent poll of Atlantic City voters concerning online gambling, it seems the sentiment hasn’t changed.

Though it has been said by one of the supporters of the bill that a vote will not be taken to override the veto, most believe that the Governor wants to get this done just not the way it is currently worded. State Sen. Raymond Lesniak, the bill’s sponsor said, “I know we’re going to be able to get it done.”

Joe Brennan, the executive director of IMEGA also indicates that legislation could get done saying, “This is a setback in that it slows it down, but all indications we have is the governor wants this, but it’s that he wants it done right.”

Some though feel the pressure of getting something done now like Assemblyman John Amodeo, “We need to be in the forefront simply because it’s going to be the wave of the future,” Amodeo said, “If it went nationally and internationally, we could make a lot.

There is however one big obstacle in the way and that is Caesars Entertainment Inc. Not that they are against online gambling but have made their point known that they are against a state by state approach to legalizing internet gambling. Caesars believes they could garner a 20% market share of the $5 billion online poker market if it is legalized federally.

So no online gambling in New Jersey as of yet so now all eyes shift to Florida, California, Iowa and possibly even the halls of Congress in Washington…again.

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