By David Madden
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (CBS) — New Jersey governor Chris Christie has, once again, conditionally vetoed a bill that would have allowed for Internet gambling in the Garden State.
Last time, the concern was over operations getting outside Atlantic City. Now, Christie wants an increase in the state’s take on Internet gambling revenue, from 10 to 15 percent.
And he wants legislators to be required to revisit the whole idea of online gambling after a ten-year trial period.
How did state senator Jim Whelan of Atlantic County, one of the sponsors of the bill, feel about Christie’s action today?
“Relieved, I guess is the best word, that the governor has given a conditional veto. I think that there are things in there that we can live with.”
Read Gov. Christie’s veto document (.pdf, 31 pages)
Bob McDevitt, president of Local 54, the union representing workers at Atlantic City’s major gaming venues, has questions about that “sunset” provision, but the other concerns, he feels, should be easy to address.
“We have the lowest gaming taxes in the country,” he tells KYW Newsradio. “If it goes to 15 percent for the Internet, I don’t see that as being onerous.”
McDevitt just wants quick action, though, insisting the measure is needed as part of the plan to keep Atlantic City casinos competitive.
And, for the record, Christie says he supports the concept of Internet gambling. His decision today marked the second time since 2011 that the Republican governor has vetoed an Internet bill passed by the New Jersey legislature.
So far, Nevada and Delaware have legalized Internet gambling.
The Pokers Players Alliance (PPA) commended Christie on his decision in a press release on Thursday.
“Today, Governor Christie took a critical step toward re-building New Jersey’s economy and establishing strong standards so that Internet gaming will be enjoyed responsibly,” said John Pappas, executive director of the PPA. “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. Now, New Jersey is well positioned to serve as a leader in the innovative Internet gambling market and can pave the way for other states to adapt similar structures moving forward. We urge the legislature to act swiftly to pass this important legislation.”