New Jersey Governor Chris Christie: Legalized Sports Betting No Priority?

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Sports Betting

Some of us from Gambling911.com couldn’t help but question the irony of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s refusal to join a lawsuit filed on behalf of the Interactive Media Entertainment & Gaming Association which would essentially make sports betting legal in the state.  Christie’s objection: Overturning an 18 year ban on wagering in New Jersey is not a top priority. 

"At this time, given the unprecedented economic crisis and other challenges facing the state, the governor has determined that the state’s limited resources would be better utilized by focusing on other, more immediate issues facing the citizens of New Jersey," Chiesa wrote in a letter to the judge hearing the matter.

But just barely one week later, Christie announced ambitious plans to overhaul Atlantic City through a state takeover and proposedto privatize the money-losing Izod Center and the Meadowlands Racetrack.  His move seemingly acknowledges the importance of revenue generated for the state via gambling venues. 

If the Governor is truly concerned about raising more money for the state via gambling enterprises, why shun the legalized sports betting lawsuit?

Joe Brennan, Jr., founder of iMEGA.org, explains the impact legalized wagering might have on the state, especially during these tough economic times.

“New Jersey stands to realize the creation of up to 57,000 jobs, $7 billion in annual gross gaming revenue and up to $472 in annual state gaming taxes should it establish itself as the dominant hub for the industry.”

There is speculation that Christie has distanced himself from the lawsuit in order to appease the National Football League (NFL).  They recently awarded the state the 2014 Super Bowl.  The NFL makes no secret of the fact that they condemn betting on sports and have aggressively gone after the state of Delaware for moving to legalize the activity.  The NFL subsequently filed a suit against Delaware and won.

“This industry has to offer more than just an opportunity for the state and operators to take revenue out of the population,” said Brennan. “It can have a more direct, positive affect than just increased tax revenues for the state to utilize for services. Being an engine for real job creation and attracting investment, and the opportunity to be the global hub for a high-tech industry is a much more meaningful opportunity for legislators to consider.”

Christie instead is set to tackle something viewed in many circles as a “lost cause”, making Atlantic City profitable again.

As the New York Times pointed out this past week, “Mr. Christie aims to stem the downward slide of the casinos and the neighborhoods around them, but it is not clear that he can overcome the fast-growing competition and other market forces. A commission convened by the governor wrote that ‘it is reasonable to ask if Atlantic City gaming is savable’.”

Based on Brennan’s assessment of legalized sports betting in the state, such a measure would seem like a “no brainer”.  One only needs to look at Las Vegas, and the dozens of online gambling enterprises operating in the Caribbean and Great Britain to realize the positive impact. 

Christopher Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher

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