As we reported yesterday, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie had to make a decision on the online gambling bill in the state and we have now learned the governor has vetoed the bill, again. The Governor decided to veto the bill but stated that he would sign the bill if amendments were made to add a ten year trial period as well as a higher tax rates for casinos.
This is the second time in less than two years that the governor has vetoed an online gambling bill. The state had an opportunity to become the first state to offer online gambling back in 2011 but this chance was lost once Christie vetoed the bill. With the passing of the current piece of legislation, the state would have become the third state in the US to legalize online gambling, and still could, if the bill is amended with the changes that Christie mentioned.
Christie released a statement where he spoke about his decision to veto the bill, which stated that he supports online gambling and with a few minor changes the option could become a reality. Christie stated:
“Now is the time for our state to move forward, again leading the way for the nation, by becoming one of the first states to permit internet gaming. While Atlantic City’s reputation and stature as one of the premier resort destinations on the East Coast are well-chronicled, it is not secret that revenue from the region’s most important industries, gaming and tourism has been in decline. Since the beginning of my administration, I have stressed the importance of reversing the trend of economic contraction in Atlantic City and have made the revitalization of the region’s gaming and tourism industries a key priority.”
Raymond Lesniak, a Senator of New Jersey and also a sponsor of the bill, stated that he is encouraged by Christie’s comments and he believes that the changes asked for by the governor will be handled quickly with a new bill. John Amodeo, an Assemblyman, agrees and predicted that a new online gambling bill could pass by late March.