Lesniak seeking to override Christie’s veto of sports betting legislation

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie

TRENTON – The active support of the casino workers union and the AFL-CIO will provide a boost to Senator Raymond Lesniak’s effort to override Governor Chris Christie’s veto of legislation that would legalize sports betting in New Jersey, the Union County Democrat said on Friday. Growing support for the effort comes in advance of the governor’s summit on the future of Atlantic City.

Bob McDevitt, president of UNITE HERE Local 54, and Charlie Wowkanech, president of the state AFL-CIO, recently announced their support of a legislative override of the veto of Lesniak’s bill to allow wagering on sporting events.

The measure, S-2250, was overwhelmingly approved by the Senate with a vote of 38 – 1 and the Assembly, where is passed 69 – 3. The governor vetoed it on August 11. In 2011, voters in New Jersey approved a ballot referendum on sports betting by nearly a two to one margin.

“Sports betting will help restore jobs to Atlantic City and provide economic opportunities that are good for the casinos and for the state’s future,” said Lesniak. “In the wake of the multiple closings of casinos, this is even more of an economic priority. Atlantic City’s future would be much brighter if it includes a plan that places the city at the epicenter of a multi-billion dollar business.”

Under the bill, sports betting operations would be conducted in casinos and gambling houses in Atlantic City or at current running and harness horse racetracks in New Jersey.

“The casino employees who suddenly lost their jobs are the latest casualties of a rapidly-changing landscape in gaming,” said Lesniak. “We have to act decisively to take advantage of opportunities to put them back to work and to create a better future.”

“I welcome their support and their assistance in marshaling support for an override of a veto that we all believe was a mistake,” said Lesniak. “But it was a mistake that can be corrected by legislators who are willing to stand by their original votes for the bill.”


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