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Lesniak And Christie Working Towards Online Gambling Regulations

State Senator Raymond Lesniak has been lobbying for online gambling regulations for several years in New Jersey. This week, Governor Chris Christie acknowledged that the two lawmakers are working closely to try and come up with a bill that would address some of Christie's concerns over legislation he vetoed last year.

One of Christie's chief concerns in the bill that passed in 2011 was a portion of the tax revenue going to racing interests in New Jersey. Senator Lesniak has since eliminated the language allowing the revenue to go to the racing industry, and the changes now have the racing industry opposing the new effort to regulate online gambling.

"We believe it will draw from existing wagering pools," said Tom Luchento, President of the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey.

The supporters of online gambling have started to become frustrated with a process that sees every gaming entity looking out for their own needs. Governor Christie's main concern is that the revenue generated goes towards helping the Atlantic City casinos that have been struggling since the 2008 economic recession.

"I have great personal interest in it and want to see what they're working on," said Christie, speaking about the online gambling legislation. "and hope we get to a point where we can overcome some of the concerns that I had when the bill was passed before when I issued a conditional veto. We're in constant meetings. We had a great meeting with Sen. Lesniak last week. He's working hard with us."

The new bill will be hard to get through the Legislature with the horsemen opposing. The horsemen have powerful lobbyists, and they believe that their industry is on the verge of extinction, creating an opinion that the state needs to stay away from giving additional gambling options.

New Jersey is attempting to become the second state in the nation behind Nevada to regulate online gambling. Lesniak was successful earlier this year in pushing a sports betting bill, and now he has turned his attention to Internet gambling. Under the legislation, AC casinos would be permitted to apply for licenses authorizing online casinos. The plan, if approved, is expected to bring hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue to the state.

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