With the fate of online gambling legalization in New Jersey upon his shoulders, Gov. Chris Christie may be considering a conditional veto of the bill that the state legislature approved last month.
“Sources in NJ tell me Gov. Christie considering a “conditional” veto of online bill,” was posted on Twitter by Global Gaming Business magazine publisher Roger Gros. “But only because Dems are blocking his other plans.”
A conditional veto means that Christie would object to certain parts of the legislation and would propose various amendments in order to conform to the governor’s liking. Should the legislature make Christie’s desired changes and re-enact the bill, it would again go back to the governor for his signature, NorthJersey.com reported.
That has led some to speculate that Christie’s conditional veto might require that the bill be changed to allow online poker only and remove all other casino games. With an online poker scheme similar to that already in place in Nevada, the blackjack, slots and roulette players would still need to play the games live in New Jersey. This would satisfy Christie’s recently voiced concerns that New Jersey residents may not take the time and effort to visit Atlantic City casinos with legal online gambling just a few mouse clicks away.
Christie’s other concern with the current bill is that gambling addiction would increase tremendously. It was pointed out by Poker Players Alliance Executive Director John Pappas that online gambling addiction is much easier to spot online than in casinos. All deposits and player losses are meticulously recorded on the Internet, while gamblers who visit casinos and wager uncontrollably and lose can do so without so much as revealing their identity.
Pappas said as much to a Christie aide during a Tuesday meeting in which he lobbied for passage of the bill. He also made it clear that online poker could actually increase the number of poker players who play at Atlantic City casinos as long as the casinos promote online poker satellites or qualifying tournaments in which winners play at live events in the casino poker rooms.
Christie has a deadline of Feb. 7 to either sign the bill, choose not to act and the bill would become law, outright veto the bill, or conditionally veto the bill. The PPA is pushing for Christie to sign the bill, as it would allow for online poker in the Garden State. However, amending the bill to online poker only is what most poker players and the PPA would rather see.