The expansion of legalised online betting in the United States is helping to fight crime and increase job opportunities, according to influential former New Jersey senator Raymond Lesniak.
Lesniak, who has led the way for 12 years in the fight to legalise sports betting and online gaming in the US, is set to appear at next month’s iGaming NEXT event in New York City. He says that racetracks in neighbouring New Jersey have been reinvigorated since legal online wagering came into force in the Garden State.
New York recently followed suit and legalisation has been a hit with customers, with more the $2 billion in wagers placed in the first five weeks. An expansion of mobile sports betting to include additional online operator licenses in New York is now on the cards.
Increased regulation has seen criminal gangs have taken a hit, Lesniak says, and the icing on the cake of additional state revenues has helped make regulation an attractive prospect, post-PASPA.
“I fought to generate revenue to restore the more than 15,000 jobs lost at New Jersey’s failing Atlantic City casinos and save thousands more jobs at our troubled racetracks,” said Lesniak, a decade on from his sponsoring a bill that passed to allow online gambling by New Jersey residents over the age of 21.
“Generating revenue to the state was an added bonus. States throughout the nation saw our success and jumped on board. With New Jersey leading the way, regulated online betting and gaming has replaced unregulated offshore sites and organized crime betting rings. That’s a good thing for gaming.”
As successful as Lesniak’s fight to legalise sports betting has been, it was not an easy road.
“My legislation challenging PASPA, the federal ban on sports betting, was upheld by the US Supreme Court after I suffered eight defeats in the lower courts,” added Lesniak. “My book ‘Beating the Odds’ describes the journey through the New Jersey Legislature and the state and federal courts to ultimate victory.”
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