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A bill that would legalize online gambling in New Jersey has advanced through a state Senate committee.
The bill passed the Senate Government and Wagering Committee with a 3-0 vote with two members abstaining. Last year a similar bill passed through the state Legislature but was vetoed by Governor Chris Christie.
The bill was introduced by State Senator Ray Lesniak, the latest attempt by the New Jersey Democrat to legalize internet betting in the Garden State. The bill was co-sponsored by fellow State Senator Jim Whelan and the two politicians agreeing to delete portions of the bill that relate to horse racing. The move was made in an attempt to win the approval of Governor Christie, who wants any benefits to go to Atlantic City casinos.
The deletion of the horse racing provisions by the two politicians has angered those in the horse racing industry, with some threatening a legal challenge. Some horse racing representatives say they believe that online gambling will take away from the amounts being wagered at horse tracks across the state.
Speaking about the new online gambling bill, Governor Chris Christie said “I have great personal interest in it and want to see what they’re working on and hope we get to a point where we can overcome some of the concerns that I had when the bill was passed (in 2011) before when I issued a conditional veto. We’re in constant meetings. We had a great meeting with Sen. Lesniak last week. He’s working hard with us.”