When it comes to improving the lives of New Jersey residents, the governor chooses internet casinos over marijuana.
Governor Chris Christie has used any given opportunity to make it clear that he is against legalizing marijuana in the Garden State. In his latest speech at a town hall meeting, he said to his audience (mostly made up of older residents): “I am not going to turn our state into a place where people fly into to get high. And if people want legalized marijuana in the state, elect a new governor.”
When asked to choose between marijuana and internet gambling in the US – an initiative Christie fully supports – some might argue the former is better. Colorado is raking in millions in revenue from legal pot, while New Jersey’s online casino profits are still much lower than initially predicted.
No amount of pot money can buy Christie
States considering legalizing internet gambling include:
• New York
At his last town meeting, Gov. Chris Christie was confronted by a wave of protesters. But Scott Waselik, a resident of Sparta, told reporter that he and several other people supporting medical marijuana were forbidden to participate.
Apart from all the arguments against or in favor of medical marijuana, the revenue generated by recreational pot is also worth considering. But Christie is looking beyond Colorado’s high profits (pun intended) and trying to see the bigger picture.
“See if you want to live in a major city in Colorado where there’s head shops popping up on every corner and people flying into your airport just to come and get high,” he said on the radio. “To me, it’s just not the quality of life we want to have here in the state of New Jersey and there’s no tax revenue that’s worth that.”
Despite the dramatically built statements, many Americans disagree with the politician. People may have different reasons for opting for marijuana, but the reality is that 50% of them would like to see it legalized.
Online casinos or pot?
Earlier in May, a poll conducted by the Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind found that Americans are split over whether marijuana should be introduced for recreational use. Half of the 1,151 respondents said they agree with the initiative and half said it was not a good idea.
But when it comes to changing American gambling laws to allow online casinos, the results are much clearer. And the surprising part is they’re not in favor of internet betting, as one would expect. In fact, only 27% of the respondents support the idea.
The poll also revealed that people tend to be more interested in whether marijuana is legalized, rather than the faith of online casinos in the US. About 65% of respondents are not really following news about internet gambling. In comparison, 86% of them have heard of or read about efforts to legalize recreational marijuana.
The numbers are practically the same as they were in earlier polls, dating from 2010 and 2012.
Online gambling to extend anyway
At present, only New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware allow some form of internet gambling, but at least 10 other US states are considering legalizing it. The situation is similar with recreational marijuana use: Washington and Colorado have legalized it and others are debating the issue. However, a number of states already offer residents the option of buying legal medical marijuana, which is a completely different matter.
Supporters of online casinos still believe these could bring significant revenue to the local budget. But there are powerful “forces” opposing it too, with the most dangerous opponent being Sheldon Adelson and his Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling. The movement has already won the support of several politicians, most of them drawn by the thought of Adelson’s juicy campaign contributions.
Despite the controversy over online casinos, it looks like New York, California, Mississippi, Iowa, Illinois and Pennsylvania are all willing to legalize it. For now, supporters and opponents are presenting their most convincing arguments. Only time will tell what the future hold for internet gambling in the US.