Christie Vetoes Gambling Bill, Advancing Online Casinos In The Process

Governor Chris Christie vetoed the second online gambling bill that has come across his desk since becoming Governor of New Jersey on Wednesday, but the veto came with conditions that could make New Jersey the first in the nation to offer Internet gambling.

In a bizarre set of circumstances, Christie vetoed the legislation passed by New Jersey lawmakers that would have allowed Atlantic City casinos to start operating online casinos. Christie then outlined a plan in which he would sign a revised internet gaming bill.

Senator Raymond Lesniak has been the driving force behind gambling expansion in New Jersey, and he saw the revisions Christie proposed as not only doable, but necessary.

“The conditions are minor changes,” said Lesniak. “this is going to be wildly successful, and it’s going to bring in millions of dollars of additional revenues for the casinos and the state.”

Among the proposed changes that Christie outlined was a ten-year limitation on the Internet gambling expansion. Christie believes that online gambling could extend beyond that ten year period, but the governor wants an out in case the plan is not successful.

Another change Christie requested was an increase in the tax rate that casinos would pay on Internet gambling winnings. The rate was set at 10% in the original bill, and Christie wants the rate upped to 15%.

Lesniak responded positively to the veto news. The senator believes that the assembly will pass a revised bill by the end of the month, and that the Senate will follow by approving the revisions sometime in March. With that time frame, Lesniak asserted that online casinos would be operational by September.

Atlantic City casinos have experienced a sharp drop in revenue over the past five years since the economic recession. Neighboring states have added casinos, hurting the customer base in Atlantic City, and Pennsylvania has passed New Jersey in overall gaming revenue.


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