In a press release, Governor Christie stated:
“This bill represents an important policy decision for the residents of New Jersey, and a historic opportunity to continue the State’s leadership as a premiere destination for tourism and entertainment. Such a significant step must be carefully considered, balancing the benefits of job creation, economic development, and the continued revitalization of Atlantic City against the risks of addiction, corruption and improper influence. It is my duty as Governor to make these determinations, always mindful of my duty to guarantee the continued welfare of our families, our neighbors, and the future generations who will call our State home.”
As part of his careful considerations, Governor Christie proposed the following changes to Assembly Bill 2578:
- Prohibit state employees and Legislators from casino-related employment, representation, Internet gaming licensees, promotion, and affilation programs.
- Establish a sensible requirements that state-elected officials promptly disclose past and present relationships with entities seeking or holding Internet gaming licenses.
- Increase the level of funding for programs treating compulsive gambling. This would in part be funded by a proposed Internet Gambling tax rate from 10% to 15%.
- Require all gaming licensees to pay for an annual analysis of “potential harms” associated with online gaming.
- Set a 10-year lifespan on the bill, which will allow future policy makers to weigh the societal impact on the bill and provide an opportunity for revisions or renewal if appropriate.
- Increase the Internet tax rate from 10% to 15%
“Our State cannot carelessly create a new generation of addicted gamers, sitting in their homes, using laptops or iPads, gambling their salaries and their futures,” Governor Christie said in his press release, adding “…now is the right time for the state to move forward and again lead the nation by becoming one of the first states to permit Internet gaming, but only with the right limitations and protections.”
While headlines across the nation’s papers and webservers may read “Governor Christie Vetoes Another Gambling Bill”, the reality of the New Jersey Governor approving online gambling legislation is far more optomistic. In fact, according to a Press of Atlantic City article, several legislators believe the governor’s proposed changes were an acceptable compromise. This could lead to an approved bill by the end of March.