Expert Testifies Online Casinos Would Not Violate NJ Constitution

Constitutional law professor John Wefing of Seton Hall Law School testified before the Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee on Monday, and indicated that New Jersey can approve online gambling originating in Atlantic City and not run afoul of the state’s constitution, all without requiring the citizens of New Jersey to vote on the matter.

The New Jersey constitution provides that Atlantic City has a monopoly on gambling in the state, except for specific carve-outs for horse racing and the state lottery.  Wefing’s testimony centered on the fact that any online wager in the state would not be completed until a server in Atlantic City accepted the bet, meeting the legal requirements.

In March 2011, a bill allowing the games overwhelmingly passed the legislature only to be vetoed this January by governor Chris Christie who had concerns over the constitutionality of the measure.

The bill currently being considered by the committee is Assembly Bill 2578, introduced in mid-February.  A Senate version of the bill (S1565) was reported favorably by the committee and referred onward to the committee on budgeting.