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New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has vetoed a bill which would have legalized online poker and gambling within state borders.

It’s a decision which has sent shockwaves through the gaming world. Many proponents of poker legislation have admitted to being somewhat blindsided by the ruling, since there were so few indications of the Christie’s leaning on the matter.

The good news here is this – While the Governor did vote down this particular incarnation of the bill, he did suggest that his contemporaries could breathe new life into the crusade by utilizing a voter referendum.

The Governor explained his reasoning as follows:

“In my view, the creation of a legal fiction deeming all wagers to have ‘originated’ in Atlantic City cannot overcome the clear and unambiguous language of the State Constitution.”

“The expansion of gambling in New Jersey has been slow and cautious,” he said, noting public concerns about the “potential ills” of betting. A recent poll said 67% of New Jerseyans were opposed to Internet gambling.

“If the Legislature believes that expanding gambling outside of Atlantic City is in the best interests of the State of New Jersey, it should place the question on the ballot for the voters to decide.”

Christie has also expressed concern that gambling would pop up in internet cafes and nightclubs, against the will of the owners. He also objects to the idea that some of the profits from online gambling would be diverted to the horse racing industry, as currently outlined in the bill.

“This is a setback in that it slows it down,” said Joe Brennan, executive director of the Interactive Media Entertainment & Gaming Association. “But all indications we have is the governor wants this, but it’s that he wants it done right.”