NJ Gambling Advocate Ray Lesniak Running for Governor

NJ Gambling Advocate Ray Lesniak Running for Governor

Democratic state Senator Ray Lesniak has announced his plans to run for the New Jersey Governor’s office.

This story began in October, when Lesniak intended to file papers to run for governor. At the time, Phil Murphy, a former U.S. ambassador to Germany and one-time Goldman Sachs executive, was the only other candidate.

Lesniak began to second guess his decision after Murphy secured key party endorsements and announced that he would spend $10 million of his own money on the campaign.

This forced Lesniak to reconsider running and temporarily drop his bid.

But according to NewsWorks, the 70-year-old has changed his mind because he “could not sit back” while New Jersey’s economy continues to underperform.

Aside from Murphy, Assemblyman John Wisniewski and Republican Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli will run against Lesniak. Republican Jon Bramnick announced that he won’t be going for the governor’s position.

Republican Governor Chris Christie, who made a run at the 2016 Presidential nomination, must vacate office in January 2018 when his second term is up.

A former attorney, Lesniak has been in the New Jersey State Senate since 1983. He wants to help turn around New Jersey’s economy and make the state more affordable to residents.

In recent years, Lesniak has emerged as a strong gambling advocate who likes using land-based and online casinos to generate revenue for state programs.

He submitted his first online gambling bill to the state in 2010, hoping that the Garden State could be among the first to regulate the activity.

Unfortunately, his bill was vetoed by Governor Christie in 2010 and 2012. But he didn’t give up, submitting another gambling bill in 2013 that was accepted.

In addition to fighting for online gambling, Lesniak also pushed for legal sports betting in New Jersey. He hoped to overcome the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA), which outlaws sports betting outside of Nevada, Delaware, Montana, and Oregon (all 4 grandfathered in).

Unfortunately, he’s been met with opposition every step of the way, including one instance where the NFL sued New Jersey to prevent sports betting.

But if elected governor, there’s no doubt that Lesniak will continue his fight to bring legal sports betting to the Garden State in the near future.

The party primaries are on June 6, 2017, giving Lesniak a year and a half to campaign.

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