The Other Side of the Jersey Gambling Bill

As New Jersey’s proposed law to legalize and regulate (and tax the heck out of) online gambling quickly moves through the state’s congress, some opponents are raising points in opposition to the plan.

The bills, intended to add revenue to the state’s coffers, would actually “carry mostly negative credit implications that will effectively move revenues from one bottom line to the next without necessarily expanding them,” states, citing a report by Moody’s Investors Service.

Well, okay — there’s two sides to every story, right? Still, the article raises another good point: One of Jersey’s initiatives involves legalizing sports betting, and that would have to be approved by the federal government.

“The fundamental problem for Atlantic City is the competition it’s facing,” said Carl Zeitz, former member of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission, in the article. “There isn’t going to be sports betting in New Jersey anytime soon, and even it did happen here, it’ll happen everywhere. There will be no advantage for New Jersey.”

There’s also the issue of whether Senator Raymond Lesniak’s plan to offer online gambling to the international audience could step on the toes of the WTO (World Trade Organization).

“We are going to be raising World Trade Organization issues by taking international gaming in New Jersey and showing how juvenile our federal government’s policy is with regards to online gambling,” said Lesniak, per “It makes no sense, we’re trying to isolate and segregate something people want to do, they do everywhere, and we create a mass of restrictions that’s unconstitutional and quite frankly just dumb in terms of governmental policy.”

Lesniak remains committed to his online gambling vision, though. “That’s a no-brainer and the whole bill is a no-brainer,” Lesniak said, according to “We need to be bold and tell the Federal government that it has no Constitutional authority to prevent online gaming here in our state.”

Lesniak is confident that the legislation will become law by the end of 2010. But “Lesniak, however, understands that regulations need to be conceived, and that could take some time,” adds. “The hope is that the casinos are able to offer games such as blackjack, craps, roulette, slots, and poker sometime in 2011.”

And, finally, Lesniak tells the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey why his bill is more likely to pass before federal legislation, and why it should:

“First of all, there’s a lot of opposition to expand gaming at the federal level. There’s also a lot of opposition to the federal government being involved in gaming. For those reasons and all the anti-gambling opposition as well, I don’t see it passing. Even if it does, New Jersey is going to opt out because we’ll do a lot better job of it by running it on our own.”

“ … the Justice Department doesn’t have any authority over Internet Gaming that is exclusively intrastate,” Lesniak added, explaining his bill further. “The very sophisticated software available is to ensure that only New Jersey residents will be able to gamble and that the signal that the Internet site be located in New Jersey as well and that precludes any federal authority from intervening.”