UPDATED: See Christie’s press release bottom of page.
After 45 days of sitting on an internet gaming bill passed by both houses of congress in New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie today sent back the online gaming bill with a conditional veto attached.
The bill, A 2578, passed the House and Senate in New Jersey in late December and has been on Christie’s desk for action ever since. Christie waited until today’s action deadline before issuing a conditional veto on the bill.
A summary of the conditions attached to the veto are :
The DGE (Division of Gaming Enforcement) be given “wide latitude and authority” in establishing regulatory framework (most effective controls, monitoring and supervision.
Internet gaming should be developed in an open and transparent manner, free from suspicion of self-dealing and improper influence.
Changes should include extending the prohibitions of casino related employment for State employees and State legislators to Internet gaming licensees and their promoters or affiliates. State elected officials will have to promptly disclose their past and present representation of entities seeking or holding Internet gaming licenses.
So as not to be responsible for creating “a new generation of addicted gamers” , there should be an enhanced level of funding for compulsive gambling treatment programs and an annual analysis of the potential problems and harms associated with online gaming (at the expense of the licensees.)
The proposed tax rate should increase from 10% to 15% (compared to 8% for brick and mortar casinos)
Internet gaming should be reviewed by future leaders to revise as needed (sunsets in 10 years).
The most important part of the veto message, however, was Christie’s personal message as to the importance of the bill.
“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.”
Even if the Senate and Assembly were to resubmit the bill with the Governor’s suggestions included, he technically has no obligation to approve it. However, Christie’s longtime support of Atlantic City’s value to the state’s economic interest alongside his strong statement of the State being in the nation’s forefront in online gaming, can only be viewed as his plan to help move ahead with the conditions met.
The full text of the conditional veto can be viewed here.
UPDATE: Governor Christie’s official press release can be seen here.