Former NJ Governor Chris Christie Describes PA Rollout of Sports Betting a "Dumpster Fire", "Extortion"

Written by:
Aaron Goldstein
Published on:

Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie called Pennsylvania's attempt to offer legalized sports betting a "rolling dumpster fire".

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“Let’s take a state that has really screwed [sports betting] up," Christie said during his keynote address at this year's Global Gaming Expo (G2E). "Pennsylvania. I mean, a rolling dumpster fire.”

Christie fought to get legalized sports betting in his state and brought that fight all the way to the Supreme Court.  The end result is that all US states can now offer sports gambling.

PA was one of the first to pass legislation, after New Jersey. They impose one of the highest tax rates on operators at 36%.  The licensing fees are substantial as well.

“It’s the opposite of Field of Dreams. If you do that, they won’t come.”

“You cannot tax this unreasonably. If you do, reasonable people within the gaming industry will say no thank you,” Christie argued.

Companies like Pointsbet, which have established themselves in New Jersey and Iowa, have cited the high tax rate as a reason not to enter the PA market.

Twelve of the state's thirteen casinos have vowed to offer sports betting but many experts, Christie included, believe operators will have little room to grow.

“Ultimately, making the entire experience more accessible to the fans is what they need to do. Those fees are not going to encourage innovation. They are not going to encourage investment in the properties,” Christie explained.

“Every dollar you pay in licensing fees or in taxes is a dollar you don’t have available to bring new types of betting to the floor, to have state-of-the-art products to allow the experience to be more enjoyable. That’s why I think they are missing the boat.”

Christie even compared Pennsylvania's sports gambling business plan to "extortion".

"In the end, it’s a short-term problem and a long-term problem. The long-term problem is they’re not going to invest in getting Pennsylvanians the best technology because they spent all they are going to spend on the licensing fees and the taxes.”

- Aaron Goldstein,

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