New Jersey will get a new governor this November 2017. Governor Chris Christie will be stepping down in January 2018 after having served two terms. Sitting Lieutenant Governor, Republican Kim Guadagno, will likely be the Republican candidate. There will be a contentious battle for the Democratic candidacy between Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Union) and Paul Murphy, a major democratic donor who has been around politics for forty years.
Even with the uncertainty that the new Trump administration will bring concerning state and federal legislation of online gambling, it is a safe bet that Sen. Lesniak will be a staunch supporter for the gambling industry. Lesniak admits that he’s in for an uphill battle against front-runner Paul Murphy but feels that his name recognition and reputation will propel him to victory as the Democratic candidate.
Lesniak was quoted as saying, “The final decision for me was I could not hold myself back. The state of New Jersey needs fundamental reform and restructuring. The state needs a fighter and I’m a fighter. This is an uphill battle. But I believe I have the support of people and the recent election has shown that you can go directly to the people and get support if you have the right message.”
In a recent interview, Lesniak was asked if he became governor what his administration would mean for gambling. Not holding back, he said:
– Pursue legal sports betting in Congress if we can’t win in court.
– Expand internet gambling internationally with international live poker tournament finals in AC.
– Take a shot at convincing the public that a specific North Jersey casino site with a redevelopment plan for Atlantic City will be beneficial to the state by creating jobs, bringing back revenue lost to New York and Pennsylvania and transforming AC to a tourist destination with casinos – rather than just a casino destination.
– Also, support the horse racing industry, racetracks and horse farms with purse supplements.
Lesniak has a positive history of supporting the gambling industry that backs-up his to-do list if elected governor. He has been instrumental in the push to legalize sports betting in New Jersey. He spearheaded online gambling legislation through the state legislature. He was in favor of bringing PokerStars into New Jersey’s online gaming market. He has continuously lobbied for New Jersey to become an international hub for online gambling. Although it was unsuccessful, he was also a proponent of the North Jersey casino expansion.
Proponents of online gambling in the Keystone State would do well to put all of their efforts into getting Sen. Lesniak elected as Governor of New Jersey.