Lobbyist Funds Strong for New Jersey Online Gaming

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The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement was busy this week, releasing the first report of revenues for the online gaming sector as well as spending reports for the Internet gambling industry from July 1, 2009. Reports going forward will be produced on a quarterly basis.

The final number of payoffs made by Internet gambling-related companies for professional and legal services since mid-2009 was $50.3 million. Those profiting were reportedly in professions including legal, consulting, lobbying, auditing, accounting, recruitment and referral services. Lobbying revenue is required to be reported by many states, including New Jersey, but law firm Fox Rothschild chair Nicholas Casiello told Philly.com that this was the first he had heard of such a broad scope of payoffs being reported to the public.

Beneficiaries of Funds

The company with the most paid in legal services from Internet gaming companies was Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, a legal firm based in Denver but with an office in New Jersey. It received $1.89 million for legal work, along with $2.83 million from lobbying and consulting work, along with an overlap of legal work. A shareholder in the company told Philly.com that he estimated 25 percent of that money came from the Atlantic City office alone.

Lobbying firms picked up a fair amount of the money as well, with Public Strategies Impact taking in $37,500 quarterly from Caesars Entertainment for a total of $3 million since July 2009. Capital Public Affairs received $378,000 in total from the Borgata, and the casino also paid $108,000 to Cammarano & Layton Partners.

Casino Expenditures Revealed

According to the report, some casinos spent more than others. Borgata spent only five percent or less of the reported amounts on Internet gambling issues, with no other money submitted in relation to its partnership with bwin.party. As for bwin.party, the company reported spending more than $940,000 in just the last two years for New Jersey online gaming compliance alone. Payments ranging from $100,000 to $300,000 for Mike Sexton to represent the company as a brand ambassador were also made.

One representative said that all of the 11 New Jersey casinos submitted the proper documents for this report, as well as the seven licensed Internet operators. However, the Division of Gaming Enforcement revealed that only about 40 percent of the licensed vendors reported their expenditures by the due date. Others were not included in the report due to non-compliance with the requirement.

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