New Jersey’s Chris Christie Urges President Donald Trump and Congress to Support States’ Rights in Online Gaming Battle
Posted on: July 24, 2017, 10:00h.
Last updated on: July 24, 2017, 10:10h.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) put his signature on a bill late last week that urges President Donald Trump, members of his administration, and Congress to oppose any legislation that would prohibit individual states from authorizing and regulating online gambling.
Introduced by State Rep. Vincent Mazzeo (D-Northfield) in January, the joint resolution seeks to inform the president and Congress on how internet casinos are playing a vital role in the recovery of Atlantic City. Of course, it’s an opinion only and one that carries no given weight, as state governments have no direct input into federal laws.
The main issue is once again the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA), legislation that would reverse a 2011 US Department of Justice opinion that said the longstanding Wire Act applied only to sports betting, and not other forms of gambling.
Mazzeo’s resolution explains, “Recent federal measures, such as [RAWA], introduced in the 114th Congress, if pursued by the 115th Congress and supported by President Trump and his administration, would prohibit the transmission of wire communication of any bet or wager … including internet gaming.”
A copy of the signed legislation is being sent to the president, US House and Senate leaders, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and various other political powers in Washington, DC.
Internet Gaming Wins
Garden State politicians have plenty of reason to support Mazzeo’s bill. Atlantic City’s remaining seven casino operators are finally posting gains, and online gambling is playing a leading role in the fiscal recovery.
Through June, land-based gaming win is up 1.5 percent. However, internet gambling has soared over 28 percent, bringing the casinos’ bottom line to 3.5 percent.
Internet gambling has delivered $121.4 million to operators through June, about $26.6 million ahead of where they were this time last year.
“A federal prohibition against internet gaming would directly and negatively impact New Jersey by dismantling the investments that the State and Atlantic City casinos have already made,” Mazzeo explained.
iGaming’s prominent role in revitalizing Atlantic City is why Mazzeo had little trouble in garnering support for the joint resolution. Just a single “nay” vote came in from either chamber, State Senator Shirley Turner (D-Mercer) being the lone opponent.
There doesn’t seem to be much enthusiasm in Washington to take up RAWA, or similar anti-online gambling legislation. Previous committee hearings in the House and Senate didn’t change the fact that most in Congress just aren’t terribly invested in discussing internet gaming prohibitions at the federal level, a matter that the Republican-controlled Congress would seemingly prefer to leave up to each state to decide for themselves.
RAWA was introduced into their respective chambers by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and former Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah). It’s largely thought that those actions came at the behest of Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson, a powerful GOP financier who has made it his life’s work to block iGaming.
After lingering for two years, RAWA hasn’t been re-introduced to Congress for its 115th session.
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