This week I was able to interview New Jersey State Senator and champion of online gambling Ray Lesniak for my Off the Board Podcast. You can find the podcast on the After Party portion of our website.
In the 20-minute interview the Senator and I discussed New Jersey’s next steps for Internet gambling in the state now that Governor Chris Christie has signed the Internet gambling bill.
Lesniak said of Christie signing the bill, “He signed this one with great reluctance but he recognized the practicality and the need for Atlantic City to get new revenue to prevent one or likely two casinos from closing and losing 2 to 4 to 6000 jobs.”
We discussed PokerStars and their likelihood of receiving a license from the state, “Poker Stars, I’m rooting for them,” Lesniak said. “They paid their fine, they settled their case, and they discouraged themselves of the bad actors the DOJ was concerned about… These aren’t organized crime folks, they were folks that just wanted to make a lot of money and they were very good at it. If they get licensed it will be a big help to the state.”
The senator talks about what’s most important to him in the regulations that the Department of Gaming Enforcement put together and his non-conversations with Governor Christie after the signing of the bill, “We haven’t had any conversations since he got elected, the Governor and I don’t see eye to eye on a lot,” Lesniak said laughing.
From there the conversation moved on the NCAA and sports betting laws in the state and the current lawsuits being brought forward by the major sports leagues trying to prevent the state from opening up sports betting.
I asked him about the NCAA’s threat to not play any championship games in the state if NJ follows through with allowing sports betting. “If we win it means billions of dollars to us so I don’t care about their championship games…other states are going to follow suit…they’re going to institute sports betting. The NCAA will have to have their Championships in Salt Lake City…”
The Senator was quite candid and we appreciate him taking the time. To listen to the full interview follow the link to the Off The Board Podcast.