As I was talking about yesterday, this week we’ve been visiting New Jersey, the place where some in the poker world -- at least here in the U.S. -- have been directing their attention of late in anticipation of Governor Chris Christie’s decision regarding that online gambling bill.
Wrote some last week about the bill (A2578) and how it had been passed by both the NJ State Assembly and Senate and for a while now has been sitting on the governor’s desk awaiting either a signature to make it law, a veto, or no action at all (which would make it law by default). The deadline for Christie is a week from today, so soon we’ll know whether or not New Jersey will be following Nevada and Delaware into the world of intrastate online gambling.
Then again, we might not. Was reading around on a couple of local sites up here to see what the latest scuttlebutt might be, and saw some talk regarding the possibility that Christie could actually respond with a “conditional veto” of the bill. That suggestion comes primarily from Richard Gros who publishes Global Gambling Business magazine and who has some behind-the-scenes sources in Atlantic City feeding him info.
Gros tweeted about the “conditional veto” possibility yesterday, and John Brennan elaborated further on the idea for his “Meadowlands Matters” column. There Brennan explains how a conditional veto is just what it sounds like -- a veto of a bill that isn’t quite final, but rather objects to part of a bill and might also propose amendments, then gives it back to the legislators to perhaps pass it again and give the governor another opportunity to sign the bill into law.
In other words, a conditional veto wouldn’t quite mean starting over from scratch for the bill, but it would still probably add at least a few more months here to the process (maybe more) before any sort of bill might become law.
Brennan’s speculation goes on to consider the possibility that Christie might in fact want to pare the sucker down to just online poker. Taking those reservations about problem gambling he expressed during that “Ask the Governor” program last week, Brennan thinks maybe Christie might “prefer to tip just one toe in the water at first” with online gambling and allow an online poker-only bill before committing to anything more significant.
Then again, the delay could also just allow Christie to “tank” a little longer on this one -- or perhaps to continue pretending to tank -- which might also be in his interest as he’s up for re-election this fall.
In any case, I wonder how much the bill’s proponents would be excited by a poker-only bill, given how the revenue created by such would necessarily amount to only a small percentage of what a broader law permitting other casino games to go online would draw. A2578’s proponents -- including State Senator Raymond Lesniak -- are all about job creation and the economic benefits of the bill (as Lesniak talked about with PokerNews last week). Having online poker in the state might amount to something, but like the poker rooms in the casinos it ain’t gonna be that much of a cash creator on it’s own.
Will continue to stay tuned on this one. Meanwhile like I say Vera and I will probably end up in a museum or two today over in NYC, looking at paintings and sculptures and thinking about the past. Not the recent past in which online poker was part of the picture, that is, but earlier.