Senator Ray Leniak had sponsored the online gambling bill for voting in the New Jersey Senate on May 31. But due to lack of political support, from both the Democrats and the Republicans, the bill was not put to vote at all. There have been opinions that it will probably get postponed till autumn session.
Earlier in May, the bill had already been passed through the committee level. It had got support from the Senate side. Senator Lesniak, therefore, was very positive about the voting on the bill on May 31.
Nevertheless, Raymond Lesniak had got concerned about Gov. Chris Christie’s political ambitions. Previously, he had lent support for Internet gambling legislation. Christie had vetoed Lesniak’s similar Internet gambling legislation last year.
The said bill included assigning some of the revenue from internet gambling to supplement the state’s horse racing industry. The bill needed to undergo changes and one of them included removing the racing supplement clause.
But Governor Chris Christie provided a wavering support to the bill. This ambivalence on the part of the governor led to weak Republican votes. Yet Lesniak was of the opinion that they would not need these votes for the bill to pass. This is because the New Jersey legislature is largely Democrat-controlled.
Lesniak contributed this wavering support of Christie to presidential politics. According to him, the ambivalent support was the result of strong opposition from Sheldon Adelson. A big Republican donor, Adelson, is also the CEO of Las Vegas Sands casino. He is considered as an important figure who is lending support to Republican Mitt Romney. Romney is thought to be a possible competitor to Christie in his president run.
As stated earlier, Lesniak had thought that the bill won’t need republic votes to pass in the Democrat-controlled New Jersey legislature.
But there were not enough Democratic votes either to pass the bill. This resulted due to the opposition from the horse racing industry regarding the supplement change. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie also nursed an ambivalent attitude which led to the failure of passing the bill.
Lesniak was of the opinion that the Governor seemed to denote that he preferred the bill not to pass until fall. The general opinion is that Governor Christie is under pressure from the larger party considerations. Especially the Republican Party donors like Adelson may not be in favor if an online gambling bill is being passed. And this could affect his becoming the president, which led him to sacrifice New Jersey online gambling for his own political interests.
Before the happenings, Lesniak had a positive frame of mind regarding the Internet Gambling Bill New Jersey legislature passing to take place by end of June. But with the failure to pass, the wait will be a long shot as the legislature has off in July and August.
There has been a large difference of opinion and a survey even showed that 58 percent of New Jersey residents were against online gambling legislature. But the same margin voters were in favor of sports betting (Fairleigh Dickinson University, PublicMind Poll). What conclusion this controversy will lead to is to be seen and it seems to be a rather long-run process.