New Jersey Senator Responds to Kyl-Reid Letter

Reminding Attorney General of the state rights regarding online gambling

In a response to a note sent last week by new partners, Congressmen Harry Reid and Jon Kyl to the Attorney General of the United States, Eric Holder, appealing for the Department of Justice to crackdown on efforts by several states to pass intrastate Internet gambling legislation, claiming it violated federal law, New Jersey Sen. Ray Lesniak decided to remind the Attorney General of the states’ rights in enacting legislation on activities within individual states.

As opposed to the two politicians’ attempt to clear the way for federally approved legislation at some future stage, Sen. Lesniak in his letter insisted that New Jersey "...should not be impeded in any manner from exercising our rights under our state constitution and under federal law."

He also pointed out that under the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), intrastate Internet gambling was permissible, quoting: "The term 'unlawful Internet gambling' does not include placing, receiving, or otherwise transmitting a bet or wager where...the bet or wager is initiated and received or otherwise made exclusively within a single State."

He also said that "intermediate routing" of Internet network traffic across state lines by Internet service providers did not violate either UIGEA or the Wire Act, since the UIGEA specifically asserts that intermediate routing does not affect the location of the bet, and the Wire Act was intended for criminal enterprises using telecommunications to conduct illegal interstate sports betting, and was not intended for state-licensed and regulated intrastate gaming.

In conclusion, Sen. Lesniak’s letter reads: "Were you to accept Sens. Reid and Kyl's letter on its merits, you would have to prosecute the Nevada Gaming Board, which this year approved sports betting via mobile Internet within the confines of the state of Nevada. Nevada has also approved other forms of Internet and remote wagering on casino games, poker and sports within Nevada by firms like Las Vegas Sands and Station Casinos.

"For that matter, New Jersey and 37 other states would also have to be prosecuted for permitting online wagering on horse races, which has existed for years."

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