New Jersey Senators Jim Whelan and Ray Lesniak, supporters of online gambling, have joined the Congressional debate on the Restoration of the American Wire Act by writing to local media leaders in hopes that they will publicly oppose a ban.
The Senators sent the following correspondence:
"To the editor:
"We urge you to oppose HR 707 the “Restoration of America's Wire Act,” legislation that would strip New Jersey's ability to regulate online gaming.
"RAWA will get a hearing on March 5 in House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations [now postponed due to bad weather - ed.].
"This legislation will take tens of millions of dollars from Atlantic City's casinos at a time when it needs more revenue, not less.
"Not only would this bill do nothing to curb unlawful online gaming, it would push dangerous black market vendors further into the shadows, putting adult consumers and children at even greater risk. In fact, the best way to deter dangerous criminal activity - including fraud, money laundering and terrorist financing - is to establish a well regulated online gaming industry like the ones that have been implemented in New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada, as well as in many other jurisdictions in North America and around the world.
"In New Jersey, we have implemented a successful, regulated and licensed online gaming program - one that provides effective consumer protections for residents, while also providing much-needed funding for critical state priorities.
"Our policy-making on Internet gaming was deliberate, taking place over several years, and with a consistent focus on safety and security. It has protected children and the vulnerable unlike the unregulated market that HR 707 would perpetuate.
"A congressional ban on all online gaming would not only compromise our efforts in New Jersey, but also states like Delaware and Nevada that have implemented similar programs.
"In fact, Congress has already spoken on this issue. A federal ban on online gaming would reverse current law, which recognizes that horse racing, fantasy sports and intrastate authorized gaming and lotteries are not subject to restrictions set forth by Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA).
"We believe strongly that gambling policy is best left to the states to decide, which has been the case throughout our nation's history, and that New Jersey's Internet gaming policy should be determined by the citizens of New Jersey.
"State legislators and their constituents - not Congress - are best positioned to decide if and how online gaming works in their communities.
"We want to thank you for your time and consideration of our views on this issue, and we look forward to working with you to oppose this legislation which will damage our efforts to restore economic vitality to Atlantic City."