Fmr. Sen. Lesniak on Legalized Sports Betting in New Jersey
Steve Adubato sits down with Former Senator Raymond J. Lesniak, Author of "Beating the Odds: The Epic Battle That Brought Legal Sports Betting Across America," to talk about his journey to legalize sports betting in New Jersey and his thoughts on Gov. Murphy’s approach to tax incentive programs.
"We are honored to be joined by an old friend. Still young, but an old friend. Former State Senator Ray Lesniak, who is the author of a compelling book called BEATING THE ODDS: The Epic Battle That Brought Legal Sports Betting Across America, and also the founder and president of The Lesniak Institute for American Leadership. Good to see you Ray. Great to be here Steve. We have a history. We've talked about a whole range of issues. But there is no debating that you were the leader of this effort to bring sports betting to this state. Court battles. Political battles. Public perception battles. Biggest lesson you take from that is? Never give up. I lost eight times in court. And never listen to anyone who says, "There's no way that you can win this case." So... And they said that a lot? Oh yeah. I had one supporter, Dennis Drazin from Monmouth Racetrack. Who now... by the way, check out our interview with Dennis. When you were doing this, why were you convinced that New Jersey had to have legalized sports betting? Because Atlantic City was tanking, and our racetracks were ready to close. So we already had lost 15,000 jobs in Atlantic City, and I saw this as a way to bring younger folks into Atlantic City and into our horse racing industry. By the way, our horse racing industry is underrated in this state. Hmm. We have more horse farm... acres of horse farms in New Jersey than any state in the country. So we're talking thousands of jobs... What kind of revenue? Senator Lesniak, let me ask you, what kind of revenue are we talking about? How long have we been into this so far as we tape this program? This is going into the Thanksgiving season, 2019, as we tape. How much money are we talking? Just a little over a year. But we're... for the state... Go ahead. ...it's not that big a money raiser. A few hundred million dollars. Still real bucks. But? But over 10,000 jobs. Wow. And that's additional revenue. And it saved Atlantic City from another casino closing. Two casinos have reopened. Atlantic City... Monmouth Racetrack was going to close. And ultimately the Meadowlands. So it's a significant improvement and traction to bring those businesses back to life again. Ray, do this. Remind folks on the college end, what is okay and what's not okay in terms of that. You can't bet on college sports. Well, because I had some political opposition... Rutgers, Seton Hall, can't? You gotta lay off that? Or even Ohio State and Alabama playing at the Giants Stadium, you can't. Can't? Cannot. Because it's in New..."