NJ Resurrects Gambling Bill

By Maria McCoyGoogle


Ray Lesniak has been pushing for intrastate gambling legislation in New Jersey for quite some time, succeeded in passing his bill in both the state House and the state Senate, but has been vetoed by Governor Chris Christie.  Senator Lesniak continues to push the bill despite Christie’s opposition. 


Lesniak’s hope is that the potential collapse of one branch of the gaming industry will boost another.  A major New Jersey horse breeder is on the verge of collapse and can possible take down the entire state horse racing industry with it.  Lesniak suggests that state subsidies are the only way to save the industry.  He says that these subsidies can and should come from the revenue earned by allowing for an intrastate online gambling infrastructure to operate in New Jersey.


In his newest attempt to pass the bill, the senator has not altered the bill greatly – the bill already had sweeping support in the state congress.  However, there is a specific concern of Governor Christie’s that he does want to address.  Christie was specifically concerned that the development of intrastate online gambling would lead to gambling at internet cafes and even internet cafes geared specifically to online gamblers.  A safeguard against this has been amended to the bill.  Lesniak is pressing to have the bill on the governor’s desk by the end of this year.


There is another issue that Lesniak is citing as a reason to push forward with pro-gambling state legislation.  State legislation, he says, will always be better for the state of New Jersey that any federal legislation on the issue of gambling will ever be.  If New Jersey waits for federal legislation, they could be left behind.  If New Jersey initiates legislation, however, it is difficult for the federal government to override the local legislation. 

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