Horse Racing Group Won’t Oppose New Jersey Bill to Make State Hub for US Online Gambling

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Mar/07/2012
Horse Racing Group Won’t Oppose New Jersey Bill to Make State Hub for US Online

New Jersey State Senator Raymond Lesniak believes his co-authored legislation to make the Garden State an Internet gambling hub should pass on March 15 with actual money play likely by September. 

"The race is on," Lesniak told PokerNews.com on Wednesday. "There's certainly room for two major states to regulate the industry and combine with other states. If we get there first or they get there first, we'll both be operating. We expect New Jersey to be the Silicon Valley of Internet gaming in the country."

The US Justice Department changed its stance related to online gambling last September, announcing that it would only apply sports betting to The Wire Act.  Last week’s indictment of Bodog.com highlighted the DOJ’s new stance by focusing exclusively on that website’s sports betting operation while ignoring the fact that Bodog’s online poker network is currently the second largest targeting US players. 

Several states have already begun to consider legalizing Internet poker within their own borders, however, the New Jersey law would allow for compacts similar to that of the multi-state lottery platform, Powerball.  

Earlier in the week it appeared that the state’s horse racing industry could look to delay passage of any legislation upon learning that they were seemingly excluded in the updated measure.  Advocates suggested a lawsuit could be filed.

Dennis Drazin, consultant for the management team that has signed a lease to take over the state-owned Oceanport racetrack, revealed on Wednesday that the industry has no intention to consider litigation. 

“We actually ask that some consideration be given to amending the bill, tweaking it a little bit without hurting the casinos. They could allow casinos to lease gaming space from the racetracks,” Drazin said.

“If you allow a casino that wants to partner with the racetracks, you capture the racetrack customers who are already gambling. It allows the horsemen and the casinos to work together to benefit the state,” he said.

Lesniak appears willing to comply. 

“We've been speaking,” Lesniak said. “I understand the angst of the horseracing industry and they understand that both the casino industry and the horseracing industry are important to the economy of the state. We'll work it out. I appreciate Dennis' comments.”

- Chris Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher

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