Online Gambling Vetoed for New Jersey

Published on: March 6, 2011 

Online gambling in New Jersey will not yet become a reality. Governor Chris Christie has vetoed the New Jersey online gambling bill S490 in a move that has not surprised analysts. Analysts had been expecting this move by Governor Christie; however the reason for his move remained one of speculation.

Governor Christie implied that he supported the advocators of the online gambling bill and praised intention of the bill. Effectively, the bill was vetoed because it did not fit in with the broader laws regarding online gambling in New Jersey.

The primary reason for the veto of the bill was that the Constitution of New Jersey states that casino gambling must be restricted to the territorial limits of Atlantic City. According to bill S490, all servers of online casinos would be required to be located in Atlantic City. According to this, the wager would originate in Atlantic City, even if the player were playing online and were located outside Atlantic City. Governor Christie did not fully agree however, stating that in his view, "the creation of legal fiction deeming all wagers to have 'originated' in Atlantic City cannot overcome the clear and unambiguous language of the state Constitution."

Governor Christie cited other objections to the bill. According to the Governor, S490 did not address the issue of commercial establishments, such as bars and nightclubs, that fell outside the limits of Atlantic City, creating the possibility of hubs being established outside Atlantic City. In addition, the bill would require that all revenue generated from online gambling, by the state would be used to sustain the horse-racing industry. However, the Governor intends to make horse-racing self-sustaining which would render this proposal ineffective.

Senator Lesniak, the sponsor of the bill, commented "I look forward to working with Governor Christie and his administration in order to get Internet wagering up and running as soon as possible. We cannot let this opportunity slip through our grasp."

Lesniak had hoped that the bill might pass, but it appears that pressure was brought on the governor and at this stage he has rejected the bill altogether.

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