Casino Watch Focus reported that the New Jersey legislature passed a bill that legalized state online gambling. The bill needed to be signed by the Governor to be considered law and while some thought the political pressure from his party would lead to a veto, others believed his pro-gambling stance might be enough to see the bill become law. However, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Governor Christie vetoed the bill citing several concerns:
In the veto message, Christie said he had a number of “significant concerns” with the legislation. He rejected the theory that by placing servers in Atlantic City, the bill would satisfy constitutional requirements.
“In my view, the creation of a legal fiction deeming all wagers to have ‘originated’ in Atlantic City cannot overcome the clear and unambiguous language of the State Constitution,” he said in the veto.
Voters approved Atlantic City gambling in 1976, two years after rejecting statewide gambling. Christie said he worried the bill would expand gambling “in a manner that is contrary to the public’s sentiment” to gambling.
The Governor’s decision and rationale for veto will set a very important precedent for other states such as Florida, California, Iowa and even Missouri, all of whom have considered similar legislation and all of whom have constitutional limits as to where gambling can take place. Time will tell if these or other states move forward with plans to legalize online gambling, but at least one Governor has decided to put his people and their state constitution over the harmful effects of such widespread gambling availability.