Internet gaming bill passes Assembly

TRENTON – A couple weeks after Gov. Chris Christie’s conditional veto, the Assembly passed a revised version of bill A2578/S1565 that would allow New Jersey residents to place wagers on casino games through the Internet.

A2578/S1565 was sponsored by Senators Ray Lesniak (D-20) of Elizabeth and Jim Whelan (D-2) Atlantic City and Assemblyman John Burzichelli (D-3) of Paulsboro, among others.

The vote was 68-5, with one abstention by Cleopatra Tucker (D-28) of Newark.

Sponsors of the bill saw little problem with the changes Christie was seeking in the bill. In his message earlier this month, Christie recommended increasing funding for compulsive gambling treatment programs and disclosing past and present representations of entities seeking or holding Internet gaming licenses. The governor also called for an annual analysis of the potential harms associated with these new games to be undertaken at the expense of the gaming licensees. Furthermore, he recommends that Internet gaming and its societal impact should be studied and periodically revisited.

On the day the conditional veto was issued, Lesniak had already sounded celebratory.

 “This is good news and a big win for Atlantic City and for New Jersey. It will send a huge lifeline to the casinos by producing more jobs and additional revenue,” Lesniak had said in a statement. “It will help them recover from the gaming losses that have plagued the casinos in recent years. It could even save some casinos from closing their doors. At the same time, it will contribute to the state’s economic recovery and generate more revenue for state programs for seniors and the disabled.”

Burzichelli described it as a “key piece of our effort to boost New Jersey’s gaming industry by expanding and modernizing our wagering options.”

Internet gaming bill passes Assembly