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50 Million In Fees Paid To Gambling Lobying Firms in New Jersey
Wednesday January 15 ,2014 : NEW JERSEY REGS GOOD FOR LOBBYISTS
In 4 years, law and lobbying firms have made around $50.3 million in fees.
A regulatory requirement that New Jersey online gambling licensees disclose amounts of money paid to lobbyists has revealed that in the last 4 years law and lobbying firms working for New Jersey gambling companies have made around $50.3 million in fees.
The statistic was released last Friday by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, reports Philly.com.
The regulations require that spending reports cover professional services including "legal, consulting, lobbying, auditing, accounting, recruitment, and referral services provided with regard to Internet gaming."
It's an unusual requirement, Nicholas Casiello Jr., chair of the law firm Fox Rothschild's gaming group in Atlantic City told Philly.com.
"Many states have statutes requiring public disclosure of revenues by lobbyists, including New Jersey, but this is the first time I have ever heard of a gaming regulatory agency requiring disclosure of payments to lawyers," Castello said.
His company charged 13 clients a total of $764,988 during the period, he revealed.
The top earner was Denver firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, which was paid $1.89 million for services described as strictly legal work. The firm collected an additional $2.83 million from a mix of legal, lobbying, and consulting services - a total of $4.72 million.
A shareholder in the firm, Paul O'Gara, said that roughly 25 percent of that revenue was generated by the company's Atlantic City office.
Jersey-centric lobbying firms - led by Public Strategies Impact, which received $37,500 quarterly from Caesars Entertainment Operating Co. - have collected a total of $3 million in such fees since July 2009.
The Borgata reported only its state lobbying payments of $378,000 to Capital Public Affairs from July 2009 through December 2012 and $108,000 last year to Trenton-based Cammarano & Layton Partners.
The operator estimated that no more than 5 percent of those amounts were spent on Internet gambling issues.
Bwin.Party, an international online gambling company based in Gibraltar which has an interest in the Borgata internet gambling venture, specified that it paid Brownstein Hyatt $940,922 in 2012 and 2013 for help complying with gaming regulations in New Jersey.
It also reported payments of $100,000 to $300,000 a year to Michael Sexton, a professional poker player and "brand ambassador" for Bwin.Party.
Philly.com notes that compliance with the regulator's disclosure regulations is "patchy" at present, with only about 40 percent of the firms required to file an "Internet Gaming Disclosure Statement" doing so.
"Each of the state's 11 casinos has filed and all seven of the state's licensed Internet platform providers have filed the division's disclosure form. The division intends to follow up with licensed vendors that have not yet submitted a response," DGE spokesperson Lisa Spengler said.
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