Citing both the inconsistency with his administration's commitment to revitalizing the gaming and tourism industries in Atlantic City and legal concerns with the legislation, Governor Chris Christie today issued an absolute veto of S-490, a bill designed to permit internet wagering.
"Casino gaming is a vital component of the State's economy and one of our most important industries, generating billions in revenues and providing tens of thousands of jobs. Since the earliest days of my Administration, I have stressed the urgent need to address the critical issues surrounding the casino industry in order to reinvigorate this sector of our economy and ensure its long-term sustainability," said Governor Christie. "In partnership with the Legislature, we have achieved meaningful reforms that provide the impetus for new investment and increased tourism that will lead Atlantic City to recapturing its status as the premier resort destination in our region of the nation."
In his veto message, Governor Christie recognized as laudable the intent of the bill to make New Jersey a more competitive gaming jurisdiction, but also cited numerous concerns with the legislation as it relates to the administration's stated policy objectives and the New Jersey State Constitution, including potential allowance of gambling outside of Atlantic City's borders and the continuation of a public subsidy for horseracing, respectively.
"I wholeheartedly support the intentions of the Legislature to make New Jersey a more competitive gaming jurisdiction. However, I do not believe that Internet gambling as contemplated in S-490 is a viable option for continuing the progress that we have made so far in reversing the fortunes of the casino industry in New Jersey."