Friday August 26,2011 : Desperate situation of NJ racing prompts a second attempt at legalization
Good to his word, New Jersey Senator Ray Lesniak re-launched his proposal to legalise intrastate online gambling Thursday, reasoning that the horse-racing industry in New Jersey is in danger of collapsing if it does not receive subsidies possible from a regulated and legal intrastate internet gambling regime.
Last week Lesniak hinted at the relaunch following news of the imminent shutdown of a major horse breeder in the state.
Lesniak's last attempt was defeated in March this year by the veto of Governor Chris Christie despite having the overwhelming support of the New Jersey legislature. Although Lesniak said that future moves on his proposal would only be made after considering the governor's position, this agreement appears to have been discarded.
"Nothing has changed in terms of [the governor's] opinion as of yet," Lesniak told PokerNews yesterday. "I'm hoping that the governor will realize what is happening to the industry by him not supporting any subsidies online gaming can provide. I'm hoping the governor will reassess his position, and that Republican representatives from that area will help him change his mind. I think the opportunity is here to get together and change his view."
Lesniak's S-3019, will largely be the same as his previous attempt, which found wide favour with state lawmakers. He has, however made changes against the possibility that internet cafe gambling could become widespread in the state, a fear that Christie has voiced.
The senator said his intention was to have the bill back on the governor's desk before the close of 2011, in the hope that changed circumstances, new wording and possibly pressure from the governor's Republican Party colleagues would change his perspective on internet gambling.
The Senator is concerned that federal attempts at legalization may not be as favourable as his intrastate initiative.
"There's a big concern that New Jersey would be left behind in federal legalization," he said. "If New Jersey starts operations first, it would be very difficult for them to exclude us or diminish our role."