Lesniak Says Full New Jersey Legislature Vote for iGaming Coming in January
Online gambling supporters had hoped it would get done by the end of the year, but Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Union) says that a full vote on internet gaming will likely have to wait until January.
“The idea is to have final passage on January 6 when the entire Assembly would vote on it and the Senate would concur,” Sen. Lesniak told the Casino City Times. “Then, it would go to the governor.”
Sen. Lesniak’s bill, S490, has not run into too much resistance on the legislative front. An earlier version of the bill was passed by the Senate 29-5 on Nov. 22, and various committees in both the Senate and the Assembly have indicated their support for it.
In the Senate, the State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee approved the bill 3-1 in June, while the chamber’s Budget and Appropriations Committee supported it in November with a 10-1 vote.
In the Assembly, the Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee approved the legislation 5-0 on Dec. 9, and the Assembly Budget Committee voted it out of committee by a 7-0 vote on Dec. 16.
Still, some people have spoken out against the legislation. In an editorial on Sunday in the Courier-Post, former New Jersey Casino Control Commission member Carl Zeitz argued that “internet gambling could be a real mess,” citing the potential for social and economic harm.
In the same newspaper, Sen. Lesniak penned a rebuttal, arguing that internet gambling is already going on and that it was about time the state’s residents benefited from its revenue.
"I'm talking about found money; cash that's now going to Las Vegas or Delaware, to offshore companies and foreign countries, or to organized crime, being captured by New Jersey businesses to create profits, jobs and revenues for our residents and our state," Sen. Lesniak wrote on behalf of his iGaming and sports betting bills. "It doesn't get any better than that."
If the New Jersey legislature follows through on Sen. Lesniak's iGaming bill, it would become the first state in the U.S. to offer explicitly legal internet gambling.