TRENTON – Senators Raymond J. Lesniak, D-Union, and Jim Whelan, D-Atlantic, prime sponsors of S-1565, legislation which would allow casinos in Atlantic City to legally offer Internet wagering to gaming consumers throughout the state, released the following statements Thursday in response to Governor Christie’s conditional veto of the legislation.
“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. 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.
“This is the future of gaming. It will give the Atlantic City casinos the opportunity to be the ‘Silicon Valley of internet gaming’ by positioning them to be the hub of future expansion into other states. I will work to make the recommended changes to the legislation and get it returned to the Governor for enactment.”
“The Governor’s recommendations to the Internet gaming legislation are simple changes that can be made to tighten up the bill, while ensuring that we move forward with what will be a boon for the economy of Atlantic City. For a community that has been struggling in recent years as a result of out-of-state gaming competition, opening New Jersey gaming up to Internet wagering will be the life raft that Atlantic City needs. The revenue raised through Internet wagering will have had a real impact on the economy of Atlantic City – not only helping to keep struggling casinos afloat, but also ensuring the continuous employment of thousands of residents.
“As one of the first states to adopt Internet gaming, New Jersey and Atlantic City could become a hub for a high tech industry with thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in revenue. I am happy that the Governor has agreed in concept and that we as a state will be able to be a part of the future of gaming rather than mired in status quo that is struggling to keep up.
“I’m a little disappointed that it’s taken so long to get here, but happy that the finish line is in sight. However, the fight to strengthen our casino industry is not yet over. From sports wagering to online gaming and many other innovative practices, we need to keep all options on the table to ensure that a major economic engine for New Jersey and Atlantic City is not only sustained, but encouraged to grow.”