iMEGA Chief May Need to Set Himself on Fire to Get Attention

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:

Barney, Barney, Barney....that's all the online gambling sector seems to care about these days.  As the Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, Congressman Barney Frank is gaining all the attention these days in both online gambling and financial circles - rightfully so, Gambling911.com should add.

"It's probably the worst kept secret in Washington, D.C. that Barney Frank will not be presenting a measure to legalize online gambling until after the Spring Break some time in late April or early May," points out Payton O'Brien, Matriarch of the Gambling911.com website.

So the big news these days is New Jersey filing a federal lawsuit to legalize online sports betting in the state. 

Nobody seems to be paying any attention, however.

It's estimated that Americans illegally wager about $380 billion dollars each year on sports alone, lawmakers say sports betting would allow New Jersey to legally cash in on millions of gaming dollars out there. "At a time when state is very tight with money and have so many services that are in need of it only...will expand...it just makes sense to look at revenue sources that are already there it also makes sense to take this underground economy and bring it out into the light of day," said Joe Brennan, Jr., CEO of Interactive Media Entertainment & Gaming Association, the organization behind New Jersey's suit.

But in order for Brennan, Jr. to get the attention of his peers in online gambling circles, especially overseas, Gambling911.com advised iMEGA's fearless leader he might want to consider setting himself on fire in the middle of Piccadilly Square.

"I might have to," said Brennan, Jr.

"The New Jersey matter is getting some good local press but this lawsuit could have worldwide implications," said O'Brien. 

New Jersey State Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D., Union) envisions a change that would bring up to $100 million to state coffers in taxes, generate billions in betting, spark economic activity, and throw lifelines to casinos and the horse-racing industry, according to a piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer. 

"Our casinos are suffering, our racetracks are dying, and our state budget needs revenues," Lesniak said.

He told the paper that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, under which only four states are permitted to have sports gambling, "blatantly discriminates" against other states.

"How can Congress say to the people of the state of New Jersey, 'You do not have this right that the people in Nevada do?' " Lesniak asked.

Lesniak said those decisions ceded a multibillion-dollar gambling industry to organized crime and backroom arrangements. Despite the ban, he said, sports gambling exists everywhere from bookies to office NCAA Tournament pools.

A study funded by the Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association, which joined Lesniak as a plaintiff, estimated that sports betting could become a $10 billion-a-year industry in New Jersey by 2011. Brennan Jr. said taxes and fees from that gambling could bring $100 million a year to state coffers.

"Brennan Jr's study may be flawed," said O'Brien, who knows full well just how big an impact major sporting events such as the NCAA College Basketball Tournament have on Internet gambling revenues.  "Gambling911.com recorded well over 7 million hits to its website over the five days leading up to the tournament once the teams were selected.  We estimated there to have been around 2 million unique visitors searching specifically for information related to NCAA Basketball betting.  That is nearly one quarter of New Jersey's population, which has over 8 million people, 2 million more than Ireland."

O'Brien brings up Ireland because that nation is home to some of the biggest bookmakers in the world - the third largest being Paddy Power. 

"Paddy Power is one of the most successful companies in Ireland and has been weathering the financial storm especially well."

Christopher Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher


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