Sunday April 27 ,2014 : HANDS OFF OUR ONLINE GAMBLING SAY NEW JERSEY POLITICIANS
Delegation to Washington DC says legalization is a state right.
New Jersey state politicians reinforced their opposition to federal attempts to ban online gambling last week, travelling Washington to put across their views as part of the Garden State’s annual Chamber of Commerce visit to the Capitol.
New Jersey Senator Ray Lesniak, Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, Senate Majority Leader Lou Greenwald and Senate President Steve Sweeney were critical of the Graham-Chaffetz attempts to reintroduce the 1961 Wire Act at the behest of land casino baron Sheldon Adelson, insisting that the legalization issue is a state right.
New Jersey implemented a stringently enforced regulation and licence regime for online gambling last November, joining the states of Delaware and Nevada as pioneers in legalization.
Senator Greenwald said in a statement aimed at federal politicians:
“New Jersey policymakers took the initiative to modernize our gaming industry through online gaming. Yet Congressional action threatens to destroy this innovative and fledgling effort before it has a chance to succeed on its own merits. This issue should be left to the states, who are the best positioned to decide if and how online gaming should work in their communities… not by Washington.”
Senator Lesniak commented that the Restoration of the Wire Act was an irresponsible attempt to reverse the status quo, and that the federal government has no right to dictate shutdowns of a successful new business sector to states that have already legalised online gambling, adding: “Congress should leave us alone!"
The New Jersey delegates warned that instituting a federal ban would only drive American players to unlicensed websites that were probably not as well equipped technologically or committed to the same high standards and regulatory oversight as those licensed in New Jersey.
Sen. Lesniak observed:
“Instead of a dangerous, overseas black market, consumers in the State of New Jersey have a safe place to go; a program that not only includes essential consumer protections, but also generates thousands of dollars in [tax] revenues,” he said.
The delegates also made the point that a federal ban would not only be a disaster for states that have already legalised online gambling, but would also negatively impact the investment of a number of states that have used the internet to boost lottery interest and ticket sales and games.
Sen. Sweeney cautioned that federal interference in states' rights to control gambling within their borders would have consequences for economic growth.
“It is disappointing that certain elements are working to dismantle New Jersey’s landmark internet gambling law,” he said. “New Jersey’s law was created over many years, with a focus on safety and security. We have quickly become a national leader in the world of Internet gambling, and we simply cannot afford to have all our hard work and effort undone by the whims of a few [politicians] in Washington.”
Representative Prieto said that his state had taken bold and innovative initiatives to bring the New Jersey gambling industry into the twenty-first century.
"Much like gaming at [land] casinos throughout the country, this is clearly an issue best left for the states to decide and regulate. New Jersey’s program should be left to succeed on its own,” he said.