New Jersey Governor wants online gambling
In wake of the US Department of Justice’s newly softened stance on online gambling, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has told the press that his state should become an “epicenter” for the industry.
His exact words, as reported by the Reuters news agency were, “I think we should be an epicenter for that business, but I want to do it right — I do not want to rush and get legislation that either doesn’t pass state constitutional muster, or creates other problems for us.”
Christie’s take on the New Jersey’s net-gambling future is significant because he’s the guy whose signature is required in order for any new i-gaming legislation to become law. Last year he vetoed a bill that would have allowed Atlantic City casinos to offer online casino games including blackjack, roulette and baccarat and concerns over DOJ opposition was no doubt a factor in this decision (not to mention lobby pressure from Caesars Entertainment who didn’t want the bill to interfere with their push for federal legalization).
While the DOJ’s about-face appears to have removed a major obstacle in Christie’s eyes, he’s still not in a rush to get his online gambling epicenter established straight away.
The state legislature was expected to vote on the net gambling bill re-introduced by Senator Raymond Lesniak this coming Monday, but Lesniak was asked by Christie to delay the vote until the first weeks of the following legislative session to allow any potential constitutional concerns to be addressed.
Lesniak told the press Wednesday that he was, “convinced that we can move forward & get it up & rolling without amending the constitution.” He plans on having a bill on Christie’s desk for signature in the first few weeks of the new legislative session.
The bill in question is essentially the same as the last year’s failed bill, the main provisions being :
- licenses issued & policed by the Casino Control Commission;
- games served out of Atlantic City casinos;
- games offered to New Jersey residents over 21 only;
- card games restricted to those available in Atlantic City land casinos; and
- sports betting not included.