Friday May 25, 2012 : NEW JERSEY SENATOR URGES LEGALISATION OF SPORTS BETTING
 
Sen. Lesniak seizes on recent organised crime busts to make a point
 
The arrest earlier this week of 13 alleged crime family members accused of running an online sports betting racket out of New Jersey has been quickly capitalised by Senator Ray Lesniak as an example of what is wrong with the legal status quo of gambling in the Garden State.
 
“Under the current laws, organized crime has a virtual monopoly on sports book, and they’re using offshore internet operators to bring their business into the 21st century,” said Lesniak, who is sponsoring bills seeking to legalise intrastate internet gambling and sports wagering.
 
“This case represents everything that’s wrong about our current policy regarding internet wagering and sports wagering. The Governor should support legalization to legitimize internet gaming, and support the legal challenge to the federal ban on sports betting, in order to give our casinos access to new revenue streams and drag currently illegal gaming practices into the light of government regulation.”
 
The Sen. went on to appeal to the governor to support his initiatives in order to re-direct funds from illegal offshore activities to legitimate businesses within New Jersey.
 
Lesniak's position is that legitimising and mainstreaming gaming options like online gambling and sports wagering will bring the practices under government regulation, excluding and prosecuting criminal operators.
 
Legalistion could also generate thousands of jobs in the state; millions of dollars for the Casino Revenue Fund, which provides funding for social services for seniors and the disabled; and hundreds of millions of dollars in new economic activity for casinos and horse tracks.
 
“We should not be forfeiting these funds to organized crime and offshore betting operations,” said Lesniak. “By providing a legal avenue for New Jersey residents to engage in sports wagering or Internet gaming, we would be able to take a funding source away from organized crime and channel it to economic output for our ailing gaming industry and funding for programs for seniors and people living with disabilities.
 
“I hope the Governor recognizes [this] bust as a wake up call, and joins in our efforts to diversify gaming and take some of the power out of mafia-operated illegal gaming rings in the Garden State.”