03/03/2011 2:42PM

New Jersey governor vetoes Internet gambling bill


Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey vetoed a bill on Thursday that would have allowed the state’s casinos to operate Internet betting sites, citing “legal and constitutional” concerns.

The bill would have given the state’s 11 Atlantic City casino companies authorization to take bets over the Internet from New Jersey residents. If Christie had approved the bill, New Jersey would have become the first state to authorize internet betting on casino-type games.

The onset of casino-style Internet wagering in New Jersey would have almost certainly drawn the attention of the federal Justice Department. In 2006, the federal legislature passed a bill that prohibits money transfers to Internet gambling sites by any U.S. financial institution, in part to clarify that the federal government believes Internet gambling to be illegal within U.S. borders.

The exception to the prohibition is gambling by U.S. residents on horse races, a practice that has been exempted from federal prohibitions on Internet gambling for the past decade. The exemption has remained intact despite the Justice Department’s official opinion that the practice violates federal law.