Lesniak Wants New Jersey To Be The First With Online Gambling
State Senator Raymond Lesniak wants New Jersey to surpass Nevada as the gaming capital of the US. In order for that to happen, the state must beat Nevada to online gambling regulations, and that is something that Lesniak hopes to make a reality. The senator is pushing an online gambling bill that could change the face of casino gambling in the US.
"I don't want to be left behind the state of Nevada like we were with sports betting," said Sen. Lesniak. "I don't want that to happen again, and I don't want Nevada to monopolize this market."
This market happens to be a lot bigger than the land-based casino industry that Nevada has controlled in the country for decades. Millions of Americans gamble online, most of whom play poker or slots. Lesniak's bill would create the framework for Atlantic City casinos to take their business online, something that union leaders are supporting.
"We believe that revenue will eventually help keep us stabilized in Atlantic City and elsewhere," said UNITE-HERE LOCAL 54 President Bob McDevitt. "There is risk involved, but I think it's a risk worth taking. At the end of the day, gaming will end up on the Internet and if it runs through Atlantic City's casinos, I think it's a good thing."
New Jersey lawmakers are expected to vote next Monday on the Internet gaming bill. Even if the bill passes, Governor Chris Christie will have the final say as to whether or not the bill becomes law. Christie vetoed a bill last year that would have made New Jersey the first state in the nation to regulate online gambling.
Lesniak spent the better part of the past year attempting to alter the vetoed bill in order to address Governor Christie's concerns. The senator believes that the new version of the bill will be sufficient enough to keep the governor from vetoing the legislation.
Christie has loosened his stance on gambling expansion in recent months. Voters in November passed a ballot question asking if they approved of regulated sports betting. Christie said he would support such a bill if the public supported the idea, and lawmakers have begun to craft a bill that would bring sports books to Atlantic City.
Nevada spent the holidays passing their own version of an Internet gambling bill. The state is poised to become the first in the US to offer online poker, blackjack, slots, and other table games. Nevada legislators included a stipulation in their bill that stalled the online casinos until federal laws changed.
On Christmas Day it was revealed that the Department of Justice issued an opinion back in September of last year that stated only sports betting is illegal online under the 1961 Wire Act. That opinion paved the way for state legislators to start constructing Internet gambling regulations in their jurisdictions.
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