TRENTON – In response to a letter from two U.S. senators to the Justice Department over internet-based gaming, a state senator has reiterated his support for online gaming and his intention to reintroduce new gaming legislation in the fall.
Sens. Harry Reid and Jon Kyl had written earlier this month to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder asking that he reiterate a longstanding position that gambling over the internet is illegal.
In reaction to that, Sen. Raymond Lesniak, (D-20), Union, also wrote a letter to Holder affirming the position that no such federal prohibition exists to prevent New Jersey from establishing online gaming.
“I wanted to respond to recent assertions made by U.S. Senators Harry Reid and John Kyl which were simply not supported by law, but instead seemed to be based on parochial interests,” Lesniak said in a release. “Under existing federal law, there’s simply no basis to deny New Jersey or any other state from establishing and regulating intrastate online gambling, and in fact, such operations are expressly exempted under the 2006 law on unlawful Internet gambling. New Jersey should be allowed to pursue online gaming, so long as we conform to the provisions set forth in the 2006 law, because it will be a boon to our economy and will help modernize our gaming product.”
Lesniak has argued that the two federal laws often cited – the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006 and the “Wire Act of 1961,”– were designed to prevent illegal gaming activity across state lines.
Earlier this year, Lesniak’s bill S490, which would have authorized New Jersey casinos to operate intrastate online gambling, was vetoed by the governor. Lesniak said it was vetoed not over concerns about federal law, but about the mechanics of the bill. Lesniak said he would have new proposed legislation when the Senate reconvenes in the fall.