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New Jersey Online Poker Advocate Could Replace Chris Christie As Governor

Sen. Ray Lesniak At State's Top Post Could Help I-Gaming Growth

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New Jersey lawmaker Ray Lesniak is going to be running for governor in 2017, according to reports, and it could be good news for future enhancements to the state’s still young regulated online gaming industry.

Lesniak, a Democratic State Senator, was the sponsor of legislation that legalized online gaming in the Garden State. New Jersey launched online gaming in late 2013.

“I am the biggest proponent for Internet gaming in New Jersey, by far,” Lesniak told Card Player two years ago. He eventually wants to make the state the “Mecca of Internet gaming.”

Through June, online gaming revenue in New Jersey was up 14.2 percent compared to the same period in 2014. The growth is due to house-banked online casino games.

The state is currently alone in online gaming, as Nevada and Delaware have a partnership to share liquidity, while New Jersey does not. It has been predicted that the world’s most-played online poker site, Amaya Gaming’s PokerStars, will get a license in New Jersey this fall.

In addition to bringing more US states into partnership with New Jersey’s online gaming industry, there have been talks of one day allowing players from overseas markets to compete against Americans as well. That could happen through New Jersey, and a law change to make that possible would likely stand a better chance if Lesniak was governor.