New Jersey Gov. to OK sports betting by football season
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced in a speech Thursday that he intends have sports betting legal in his state’s race tracks and casinos in time for the beginning of the NFL season in September.
This move would, of course, go against legislation barring such gambling in all but four states. Christie signed the bill into law back in January of this year.
“It will be another exciting way to add to the experience here in Atlantic City, and I know this is something people have been waiting for for a long time,” Christie announced on the Atlantic City boardwalk. “We’ll be ready to go, I hope, this fall with a whole new phase of gaming.
“We intend to go forward and allow sports gambling to happen. If someone wants to stop us, then they’ll have to take action to try and stop us.”
The federal government and the NFL are expected to provide major obstacles for Christie’s plans.
“We have been an active proponent of federal and state legislation that prohibits the spread of legal sports gambling,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told reporters. “We continue to support the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (“PASPA”) which became law in 1992 and prohibits states from operating a lottery or betting scheme based on pro or college games.”
New Jersey voters supported bill promoting sports betting at casinos and race tracks by a margin of 64 percent to 36 percent back in November.
Despite Christie's support of sports betting, the fight is hardly over yet.
"I love the idea of playing offense and having the federal government have to play defense against us," Tony Rodio, president of Tropicana Entertainment, which owns the Tropicana in Atlantic City, told the Associated Press. "But I don't know who's going to want to be the first to open knowing they can shut you down. We'd need a lot more clarity before we invested lots of money in a sports book."