Christie Vetoes New Jersey Intrastate iGambling Bill
Letter cites legality of cyber-cafes outside of Atlantic City
Governor Christie prevented intrastate gambling in New Jersey from becoming law today with a his letter to the State Senate returning the bill without executive approval of the bill “in its present form.” Christie did not comment on this bill in his press conference this morning, nor has made other public statement at this time.
The document can be found here-> <<image of Christie veto letter in PDF>>
It remains a bit unclear if this means the bill is going no further in the process to becoming law, or if it has been conditionally disapproved by Christie, and what precisely this means in terms of next steps for the effort to regulate gambling at the state level.
Checking the NJ Legislature of the website (searching for S490), the bill is currently listed with the last status update made today “3/3/2011 Conditional Veto, Received in the Senate.”
From the NJ Legislature online glossary:
CONDITIONAL VETO A veto in which the Governor objects to parts of a bill and proposes amendments that would make it acceptable. If the Legislature re-enacts the bill with the recommended amendments, it is presented again to the Governor for signature.
[Update per @GamingCounsel -> the NJ Legislature website has now changed the status of the bill in the past hour or two to the state of "Absolute Veto" from "Conditional Veto"]
In his veto letter to the Senate, Christie reveals what his objections are to this bill. He cites his primary concern that this legislation as-it-stands does not prevent gambling transactions originating outside of the confines of Atlantic City in “commercial establishments”, as in intrastate cyber-cafes of sorts. He states that if NJ residents wish to expand gambling beyond AC limits, they would need to reach this point by public “referendum” (a.k.a. vote).
Based on Christie’s statement alone, it sounds as if the governor is not asking for amendments, but rather stating his opinion that the issue of intrastate gambling in his state is one best left for public vote because of the “territorial limits” that exist. If/what next steps the legislature in New Jersey chooses to take in response, as well as what Christie truly might be willing to sign into law in the future remains to be seen.
Seems to me that today’s veto, conditional or not, might alternately be thought of as a next step in the *pursuit* of intrastate iGambling legislation in New Jersey, just as many steps have also been taken in *pursuit* of federal online gambling legislation with HR2267 and the draft of #reidbill.