TRENTON - A law that would let New Jerseyans bet on sports games from their home computers or smartphones moved another step closer to approval Thursday.
But whether those provisions will eventually be enacted into law remained very much up in the air, given the possibility of a veto by Gov. Christie.
Earlier this year, he vetoed a bill that would have made New Jersey the first state in the nation to legalize Internet gambling conducted solely within the state's borders. Although Christie has expressed support for legalizing sports betting, an Internet gambling provision limited to sports betting has been more recently added to that legislation.
A state Assembly panel approved the sports betting proposal and sent it to the full Assembly, where a vote could be taken next week. A Senate panel did likewise last week, and a vote in that chamber is scheduled for Dec. 15.
The law would let New Jerseyans bet on professional and collegiate sporting games from their home computers or smartphones, as well as at casinos and horse tracks.
In a nonbinding referendum last month, voters, by a 2-to-1 ratio, said they wanted legalized sports betting in New Jersey.
But even if the law is enacted, a federal ban on sports betting in all but four states would have to be overturned by the courts or repealed before New Jersey's law could take effect.
The bill was originally pushed as a way to help the state's struggling casinos and horse tracks by bringing more people through the doors to place bets on professional and collegiate sporting events. (Bets on games involving New Jersey college teams would be prohibited, regardless of where the games were played.)