Christie signals way forward to Internet gambling with conditional veto
By Aaron Todd
"I have concluded that 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," Christie wrote in his conditional veto. "I authorize this step towards modernizing Atlantic City's entertainment attractions cautiously, with carefully constructed limitations that will ensure the highest integrity and the most robust oversight."
Part of that cautious approach will include a 10-year sunset period, after which the state's legislature and governor can study the impact of Internet gambling on Atlantic City and the state as a whole and decide whether the policy needs to be changed or eliminated entirely.
Christie's revisions also include an increase in the proposed gross gaming revenue tax from 10 percent to 15 percent. The gross gaming revenue tax rate for land-based gaming in Atlantic City is set at 8 percent. Christie also calls for more resources to identify and detect problem gambling, and calls for an extension of the prohibition on casino-related employment for state employees and legislators to Internet gaming licensees.
Reaction from the gaming community was swift and overwhelming positive.
"It's off to the races for New Jersey," Sen. Ray Lesniak told Card Player. "This is a huge lifeline for Atlantic City – a big win for the state."
"While the New Jersey legislature has some work to do before this bill becomes law, we believe this is a victory for New Jersey residents who reached out to the Governor in droves expressing support for this bill," said John Pappas, the executive director of the Poker Players Alliance.
"Good news: Regulated online poker is coming to New Jersey!" Tweeted poker photographer BJ Nemeth. "Bad news: New Jersey is still my 50th favorite state."
Several media outlets report that Lesniak predicts that the legislature will approve Christie's changes in a matter of weeks. Should that happen, New Jersey would become the third state to regulate Internet gambling, joining Nevada, which has regulated only online poker, and Delaware, which also approved full-scale online gambling operations.