Several officials from the state of New Jersey traveled to Washington DC last week to speak out against the Restoration of America’s Wire Act. The Chamber of Commerce annual trip was used to travel to Washington to lobby against federal anti-gambling bill, stating that Congress should leave the states alone when it comes to online gambling.
State Senator Raymond Lesniak stated that the bottom line is that Congress needs to ‘leave us alone!’ The Senator was joined by other legislators such as Vincent Prieto (Assembly Speaker), Steve Sweeney (Senate President) and Lou Greenwald (Senate Majority Leader) in Washington. The bill the officials are against would essentially ban every form of online gambling across the US, even covering online lottery ticket sales, yet leaving horse racing alone.
According to a report at Casino.org, Greenwald stated that policymakers in New Jersey took the steps to modernize the gaming industry with online gaming. However, the action by Congress threatens to undo the state’s efforts before online gambling has the chance to grow and succeed. Greenwald states that the issue should be up to individual states, which are in the best position to decide if/how gaming online should take place in each community.
The bill being discussed was introduced in March by Senator Lindsey Graham and Representative Jason Chaffetz. The bill is disputing the decision by the Department of Justice for the Interstate Wire Act of 1961. The DOJ ruled that the act only applies to sports betting, which allows individual states to offer online gambling if they so choose. The bill has no out for those states such as New Jersey, who has already, offer the option.
Lesniak commented that the proposed bill is irresponsible and that the government does not have a place telling the states that already offer online gaming that they must now shut down. Lesniak stated: “The legislator warned that a ban would drive customers towards illegal gambling sites, which may not have the cutting-edge technological safeguards that New Jersey has been at the forefront of developing. These safeguards benefit consumers, offering ‘common sense protections’ including stringent measures to prevent children from gambling online.”
Lesniak further stated that because New Jersey offers regulated and protected online gambling opportunities, players do not have to take part in dangerous black market gaming based overseas. With a ban of the option, New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada would all be affected as well as the numerous states that offer online lottery sales. The argument is that the new bill would stop progress as well as economic growth.
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