Lesniak Statement On Governor’s Veto Of Internet Wagering Bill

Encouraged by Governor’s Commitment to Work Together to Make Atlantic City the ‘Silicon Valley of High-Tech Gaming’

TRENTON – Saying that Internet wagering is an inevitable growth of casino gaming, State Senator Raymond J. Lesniak, D-Union, the sponsor of S-490, a bill to legalize intrastate Internet wagering for Atlantic City casinos, said today that he doesn’t want New Jersey to lose out to Las Vegas like we did on sports betting, on what will inevitably be a national and international market.

Senator Lesniak issued the following statement today regarding Governor Christie’s veto of S-490, and the Governor’s announced resolve to work with Senator Lesniak to make sure Internet wagering comes to the Garden State:

“Every year, New Jersey-based casinos lose out on hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of jobs because the federal ban on sports wagering gives casinos in Las Vegas and other states around the nation an unfair advantage. We cannot afford to drag our feet on the next new development in wagering.

“While the Governor expressed concern with some aspects of the bill today, he’s committed to the general idea that we have to expand gaming product in order to bring our gaming industry back from the brink of fiscal insolvency. I’m encouraged that he’s expressed an interest to work together to maintain the core idea behind Internet wagering while making sure that such operations cannot be hijacked by unscrupulous operators. But we cannot delay.

“We need to work as quickly as possible to bring this bill back to the Governor’s Desk, and position Atlantic City to become the Silicon Valley of the high-tech gaming sector. New Jersey can still become the first state in the nation to offer legalized Internet wagering, and by leading the way, we position the Garden State to reap the benefits of getting in on the ground floor of a multi-million dollar market.

“Financial studies produced by independent fiscal analysts note that Internet gaming will produce, at a minimum, $35 million in new tax revenues for the State of New Jersey, $210 million in gross revenues for Atlantic City’s casino industry, 1,500 jobs for Atlantic City residents, and $70 million in direct personal income from these new jobs. However, these numbers could be as high as $350 million in new tax revenues, 57,000 new jobs, and $470 million in direct personal income. The Governor and I both recognize that New Jersey cannot afford to leave those dollars and jobs on the table.

“I look forward to working with Governor Christie and his administration in order to get Internet wagering up and running as soon as possible. At the end of the day, Internet wagering will be one of the most important tools to help promote New Jersey’s gaming industry and create much needed jobs for our State residents. We cannot let this opportunity slip through our grasp.”

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