Online gambling supporter Ray Lesniak will not run for reelection in the legislature preferring instead to run for governor, and Pennsylvanian State Rep, John Payne says Keystone online gambling bills are still very much alive.
Online gambling supporter Ray Lesniak has decided to move his political career all-in after announcing that he will not seek reelection in the legislature he has served for 37-years, but may run for the position of New Jersey Governor.
“I’m not running for reelection. I plan on running for governor.” Lesniak told NJ.com recently.
Lesniak’s gubernatorial run (I learned a new word) has not been made public, but he did tell NJ.com that his team’s plans have ‘been a long time in the making, about a year.’ He told Politico that after 40 years in office he ‘needed to do more’ and couldn’t do that without running for governor. The position will become vacant as Chris Christie leads his personal charge for the position of the most powerful man in the world.
Speaking in a phone interview with PokerNews Lesniak said he believes he is the ‘best person to lead the state out of its problems.’ Lesniak has been a long time supporter of iGaming in the U.S. It was his bill, and persistence, that saw online gambling return to New Jersey, and he still has plans to turn the Garden State into a gambling mecca, after championing for inter-state and international partnerships. It seems an absolute certainty that having Lesniak as Governor would see the state joining Delaware and Nevada in the Multi State Internet Gaming Association (MSIGA).
Lesniak recently accused Gov. Christie of sandbagging PokerStars application for a New Jersey license in order for him to curry favor from the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling (CSIG) head honcho Sheldon Adelson. If Lesniak took over from Christie, Adelson love will not be part of the bargain. Lesniak has already vowed to do whatever is necessary to fight the Sands Overlord’s willingness to ban online gambling throughout the U.S.
Pennsylvanian Online Poker Dream Lives
There was a time when many experts believed Pennsylvania would become the only state to join the existing U.S. online gambling pioneers in 2015. That was before a budgetary impasse between Gov. Tom Wolf and the Republican legislative majorities deadened the pulse.
Or so we thought.
According to an interview in Card Player State Rep. John Payne said ‘nothing could be further from truth,’ when questioned about the door being closed on online gambling legalization in 2015.
The view seems to be that until Wolf & co agrees on the Pennsylvanian budget, all bills remain on the table. Only Nevada has a bigger casino enterprise than the Keystone state. Numerous online gambling bills have been submitted including one containing a world record 54% tax on gross gaming revenue (SB 900).
The bill submitted by Payne pitches a tax on gross gaming revenue at just below 15%, and the man himself told Card Player that he was willing to negotiate around that number if needed. Nevada set their tax rate at just under 7%, New Jersey decided on 18%, and Delaware went a little crazier with 45%.
It’s believed online poker can be worth $129m, annually, to Pennsylvania once it reaches maturation, and the online casino business could rake in $178m.
What do you think?
Will we see online gambling legalized in Pennsylvania by the year-end?