New Jersey Governor Chris Christie vetoed legislation on Friday that would legalize sports betting at casinos and racetracks in the state.
According to an article in The Star-Ledger, Christie vetoed the legislation that challenges a federal ban on sports betting in most states, stating that ignoring federal law is “counter to our democratic traditions and inconsistent with the Constitutional values I have sworn to defend and protect.”
The article reports that Christie, who led the state's appeal against the law which was denied by the U.S. Supreme Court, is still pro sports betting, but has said that the state needs to "determine if a different approach towards sports wagering would comply with federal law."
“He’s giving up,” Senator Raymond Lesniak, the bill's sponsor, was quoted as saying. “And that’s sad, because he’s giving up a great opportunity for New Jersey to have the benefits from sports betting that Las Vegas has, and that are currently enjoyed by organized crime.”
“Either we’re going to have to try to override him or wait until we get another governor,” said Lesniak.
Assemblyman Ralph Caputo, another sponsor of the bill, described the legislation as "a much needed shot in the arm for Atlantic City and our racetracks, in particular."
Meanwhile, Revel AC, Inc., the parent company of Revel Entertainment Group, LLC, announced on Tuesday that Revel Casino and Hotel will cease operations by September 10. Revel, which opened on April 2012, refiled for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in June.
"Despite the effort to improve the financial performance of Revel, it has not proven to be enough to put the property on a stable financial footing," the company's release stated. "This situation is compounded by the considerable non-controllable expense structure that has financially burdened the property."
On Wednesday, Gov. Christie announced that he will convene a bipartisan summit of state and local leaders to address the future of Atlantic City and kick off a working group to address the challenges confronting Atlantic City and its changing landscape.
“There is no doubt that Atlantic City faces real challenges as the city undergoes revitalization, which is why this summit of key policymakers, local leaders and stakeholders is needed to be an active part of the conversation as to how we can best address these issues that have a broader impact on the broader region and our state as a whole,” said Governor Christie.
The summit will aim to bring together a group representing a mix of state and local policymakers and stakeholders, including state legislative and Christie Administration officials, county and local government officials, Atlantic City’s casino industry and labor representatives, nonprofit organizations dedicated to the City’s revitalization, and individuals with experience and expertise of New Jersey’s gaming, sports, and entertainment issues.
The summit will take place on September 8, 2014 and will be led by Governor Christie. Chairman Jon Hanson and the other members of the New Jersey Gaming, Sports and Entertainment Advisory Commission will spearhead efforts following the summit, including making recommendations and plotting out how to best implement any consensus ideas, concepts, or reforms arising out of the summit.
“We know that the transformation taking hold in Atlantic City is about more than just gaming and gaming-related attractions. Important signs are evident of the progress taking hold in the non-gaming development and economic activity we are seeing in AC, including businesses opening, attractions being added, and key non-gaming revenue streams rising,” continued the Governor. “All of these factors will be weighed as we consider the best course of progress for Atlantic City moving forward, and I thank these state and local leaders alike for joining me in coming together for this work.”
(With files from The Star-Ledger & Revel)