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Assembly to take up online gaming Tuesday

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Legislators are following through on their promise to quickly pass an amended online gaming bill.

The Assembly will vote on the bill, A-2578, at its 2 p.m. session on Tuesday. The vote will come just ahead of Gov. Chris Christie's 3 p.m. budget address.

Christie conditionally vetoed the bill earlier this month, but recommended changes he said would win his signature. The Legislature has agreed to those changes, and Tuesday will be the first step in sending the revised bill back to Christie.

In a press release, Assemblyman Ruben J. Ramos Jr. (D-Hoboken) said the time has come for online gaming.

"The Internet has long been a reality, and Internet gaming in New Jersey should now be reality too," he said. "This bill will thoughtfully position our gaming industry to succeed, and it will mean economic growth and job creation for our state."

The bill's other primary sponsors in the Assembly are Assemblyman John Burzichelli (D-West Deptford) and Assemblyman Vincent Prieto (D-Secaucus).

The bill would allow Atlantic City's casinos to set up online gaming sites. Christie's recommended changes would prohibit state employees and legislators from working for casinos or online gaming licensees, and force lawmakers to disclose past affiliations with licensees. It would also add additional funding for compulsive gambling treatment.

Even with the legislation's fast pace, New Jersey won't beat out its western rival. Nevada's governor signed an online gaming bill into law on Thursday.

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