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Sen. Lesniak: Sports Betting Would Bring Revenue To The State

5-26-14

A new sports betting bill is being drafted that would still allow casinos and racetracks to offer sport betting on their premises. Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-20) told NJTV News Managing Editor Mike Schneider that he has been fighting for the bill for over five years and has gone through several ways to try to pass that bill that would look to get the state of of the regulation of sports betting.

“I’ve been fighting for this for five years,” said Lesniak. “Took the federal government to court, put a referendum on the ballot, passed legislation, now we’re up before the Supreme Court again and we’re waiting to hear.”

Whether the Supreme Court rules in favor of the bill or not, Lesniak said that he is still going ahead with the bill.

With the bill, the state would not be in the business of regulating sports betting and how it is conducted but it would still draw tax revenue, according to Lesniak. Lesniak also said that with the sports betting bill, it would help in areas such as tourism as people will go to Atlantic City and place bets on events such as the SuperBowl and the NCAA Final Four.

Revenue from sports betting has been estimated by the FBI to be around $500 billion to $600 billion, according to Lesniak. As for how much revenue would be made in New Jersey, Lesniak said that it would be hard to estimate an exact number but that it would bring revenue and jobs to the state.

“Obviously we need revenues and jobs in the state, probably more than any other state in the nation,” Lesniak said.

Though the bill wouldn’t require regulation from the state, Lesniak said that the casinos and racetracks would regulate for themselves and if anything does go wrong, it would be the casinos and racetracks jeopardizing their licenses.

Now that Memorial Day weekend was the first weekend of the summer season at the Jersey Shore and about two years after Sandy, Lesniak said that the state still has a long way to go in terms of recovery.

“We’re getting there, its a long haul,” said Lesniak. “Everybody is working hard, whether its the governor, the legislature, the general public, we’re New Jersey strong so we’ll rebound. It’s just going to take some time for sure.”