Internet gaming bill clears Senate

TRENTON – The Senate sent to the governor’s desk Tuesday the internet gaming bill.

Just before the governor’s fiscal year 2014 budget address, the Senate approved a revised version of the  internet gaming bill, A2578/S2536, to incorporate the governor’s veto conditions. The Assembly passed the legislation during a session held earlier.

The Senate passed it 35-1.

The bill, conditionally vetoed earlier this month, passed both chambers Tuesday incorporating the governor’s recommendations.

Among other things, the governor recommended extending prohibitions on casino-related employment for state employees and the Legislature to Internet gaming licensees; that state elected officials disclose past and present representation of Internet gaming licenses; and a sunset of the law after 10 years.

“This is a historic moment for Atlantic City and the state of New Jersey,’’ Sen. Ray Lesniak said.  “Atlantic City has been bleeding revenues for years,’’ he said, adding this bill could prevent at least two casinos from closing.

He said they should erect a statue for Sen. Jim Whelan at Atlantic City for his efforts to lead the effort to help Atlantic City.

Sen. Mike Doherty opposed the measure, saying “the model has changed.’’ He said this bill condones a policy that continues to hurt New Jersey, and that the gaming clientele is shifting out of state and to places closer to where they live.

“We are supporting  a model with its head stuck in the stands,’’ he said, and places such as the Meadowlands deserve a chance to compete instead of putting all of the eggs in the Atlantic City basket.

But Whelan said there are 3,500 employees in Atlantic City who would benefit from this legislation. “This is a jobs bill, plain and simple, both today and in the future.”  

Other bills the Senate approved:

A60/S2536: This bill, passed by the Senate, authorizes deployment of monitors for Hurricane Sandy recovery and rebuilding projects. It already has passed the Assembly 77-0. It cleared 39-0.

Internet gaming bill clears Senate