Jim Perskie: Lesniak Bill About Helping NJ Racetracks

Written by:
Jagajeet Chiba
Published on:
Jan/18/2010

Online gambling legalized in New Jersey?

Gambling911.com was the first to break the story last week that Senator Raymond Lesniak had drafted two bills that, if passed, would make online poker, sports betting and casino Web gambling legal in the state (sports betting is one separate bill).

But Jim Perskie of the Press of Atlantic City questions the motivations behind such bills.

"It's about helping the racetracks," Perskie insists.

"Just like the lawsuit Lesniak filed in March 2009 to overturn the federal ban on sports betting, Lesniak's Internet-gambling bill is about helping the tracks - at the expense of the Atlantic City casinos.

"Lesniak's bill specifies that racetracks will be allowed to enter into agreements with casino licensees to operate terminals for online wagering - which "may be indentical in appearance to slot machines located at casinos." Furthermore, the bill specifies that a percentage of the 20 percent tax collected on Internet bets will be appropriated annually to the New Jersey Racing Commission.

"The tracks are dying. Horseracing is dying. That's no one's fault. Just a fact of life. Lesniak and other horseracing supporters need to just accept it - and stop trying to undercut Atlantic City's casinos by allowing tracks to offer gambling. And if you ask me, that's exactly what this bill is about - getting betting terminals "indentical in appearance to slot machines" in the state's racetracks."

Perskie's assertions may or may not have some basis.

According to the The Interactive Media Entertainment & Gaming Association (iMEGA) New Jersey currently offers wagering on horse races to state residents through the 4NJbets.com Web site.

iMEGA has aided New Jersey in its past suit.  That trade organization works closely with already existing online gambling websites that operate outside the US but accept American's as clients.  Up until now, iMEGA's primary focus has been to legalize betting on such things as the NFL, NBA and baseball. 

"We're happy that New Jersey has taken this issue into their own hands," said iMEGA chairman Joe Brennan Jr. "New Jersey is recognized as having the toughest gaming regulators in the US, but as a leading gaming state with a long track record of doing things the right way, Internet gambling will have a great home here and the opportunity to begin normalizing the industry."

Jagajeet Chiba, Gambling911.com 

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