New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy conditionally vetoed a bill Monday that would have expanded charitable groups' ability to sell raffle tickets online based around sporting events, determining that the measure was too close to internet gambling.
The Democratic governor rejected a bill that would have expanded a two-year-old law enabling groups to hold raffles at large sporting events in New Jersey. Because the coronavirus pandemic has drastically reduced or even eliminated in-person attendance at large sporting events in the state, some legislators proposed expanding the law to let people buy tickets to such raffles over the internet, regardless of whether they were in a stadium or not.
While lauding the intent of the bill, Murphy sent it back to lawmakers with recommended changes including allowing such an expansion only during times of a declared public health emergency, and requiring the same sort of geolocation technology that New Jersey's casinos and racetracks use to ensure that a person making an online casino or sports wager is physically located within the state's boundaries.
“I commend the bill’s sponsors for their recognition of a more subtle aspect of the coronavirus pandemic and their efforts to support and restore the viability of the charitable fundraising conduit provided through raffles held during events at large sporting venues,” Murphy wrote in his veto message.
“However, the bill does not limit the remote conduct of raffles to just during the public health emergency, and I do not see the rationale for extending indefinitely this expanded authorization, once the public health emergency has passed and stadiums are again filled with fans,” he wrote.
The expanded measure would provide a much greater challenge for Legalized Games of Chance Control Commission, the state agency responsible for overseeing such raffles, the governor said.
He also recommended that winners of remote contests be required to pick up their prizes at the stadium or at the headquarters of the charitable group that sponsored the raffle, to ensure that the necessary verifications take place.