The Authority on New Jersey Online Gambling

Sen. Lesniak’s New Legislation Serves As Final Farewell To NJ’s Gambling Champion

August 22nd, 2017
Last week, New Jersey Sen. Ray Lesniak announced plans to introduce legislation that would “allow people outside of [New Jersey] to place bets at NJ online casinos and poker rooms.”

The proposal is a fitting way for Lesniak to end his career as a state senator. He’s planning to retire later this year, ending a 38-year run as a state legislator and a supporter of NJ casinos. This decision was further solidified when Lesniak failed to make it out of the primaries in a recent run for the governor’s office.

New bill would cement New Jersey as online gambling powerhouse

Unlike, say, video gambling terminals, welcoming gamblers from outside the state isn’t a controversial issue. New Jersey’s online casinos are operated by brick-and-mortar casinos. Therefore, gamblers from outside the state would be contributing to the revenue of in-state casinos.

If there is any controversy surrounding Lesniak’s idea, it would be from neighboring states. New York, for example, campaigned hard against last November’s casino expansion referendum, which would’ve situated casinos in the northern part of the state.

But here’s the beauty of the bill: It would also open up the possibility for pooling play with overseas gamblers.

Lesniak has never been one to err on the side of timidity when it comes to gambling legislation. This new bill is a perfect example of his ambition.

NJ internet gambling was a landmark win for Lesniak

In 2013, there was some doubt as to whether Gov. Chris Christie would sign the proposed New Jersey online gambling legislation.

Christie’s hesitations drew the ire of Lesniak, who blasted the governor in the weeks leading up to the bill’s passage.

“If he vetoes the bill for those reasons, that has to go down for stupidest reasons to veto a bill ever given,” the senator told PokerNews.com. “More importantly, it would just put another nail in the coffin for any hope of economic recovery and job creation in Atlantic City.”

As a primary sponsor of the bill, Lesniak had every right to be concerned about its future and the effect it would have on the state’s economy.

On Feb. 26, 2013, Christie signed the bill into law.

“I am confident that we are offering a responsible yet exciting option that will make Atlantic City more competitive while also bringing financial benefits to New Jersey as a whole,” Christie said in an article from NJ.com.

Lesniak characterized the legislation as “historic” and said he was certain it would prevent one to two casinos from closing that year. His prediction was correct; it wasn’t until 2014 that an Atlantic City casino shuttered its doors.

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Image via Sen. Lesniak

About the Author

A three time winner of the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism award, J.R. Duren is a freelance writer. He has contributed to numerous publications including Snooth, Bespoke Post, and Barcelona Metropolitan, and covers the US regulated online gambling business for various online outlets including PlayNJ.com.