Miss Cleo couldn't figure New Jersey Governor Chris Christie out. For the second time in two years, Christie passed on signing a bill into law that would legalize internet gambling in Atlantic City casinos. Many New Jerseyans believed the second time was the charm and that the ink would be dry on the legislation by now. Then again, can anyone predict a guy who eats donuts on Letterman?
Christie's veto was "conditional", meaning it has been sent back to the state legislature with several recommendations before he will consider signing it into law, if that offers any consolation to those who were hopeful for NJ to become the third state in the US to offer such betting, next to Nevada and Delaware.
"Now is the time for our state to move forward, again leading the way for the nation, by becoming one of the first states to permit Internet gaming," wrote the Governor.
"While Atlantic City's reputation and stature as one of the premier resort destinations on the East Coast are well-chronicled, it is no secret that revenue from the region's most important industries, gaming and tourism, has been in decline."
Among the concerns cited were making sure there is more funding for compulsive gambling treatment programs, and requiring state officials to disclose their past and present affiliations with entities seeking or holding internet gaming licenses.
Christie became an internet sensation for his tough talk in townhall style meetings, cultivating an image of a guy who stands up for what he believes in and isn't afraid to express himself more colorfully than most politicians.
Not everyone buys the hype. State Senator Raymond Lensiak (D-NJ), who has tried since 2011 to advance the internet gambling legislation, addressed Christie's waffling in an interview with SBR:
"Governor Christie’s first and foremost concern is his national political ambitions unfortunately, and not for the State of New Jersey. The Governor has gotten cold feet on supporting internet gambling after signalling he would support it a few months ago. As you may recall, a year ago he vetoed my legislation in the State of New Jersey. Quite honestly, I’m not sure where he stands right now" stated Lesniak.
New Jersey's casino revenue has dropped dramatically in recent years, falling from $5.2B in 2006 to a hair over $3B last year.
Editor note: Credit to ABC News for Governor Christie's quotes.
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