New Jersey Governor John Corzine Could Jump on Sports Betting Wagon

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
John Corzine

As reported last week, New Jersey Governor John Corzine appears to be more "over the fence" than "on the fence" when it comes to legalized online sports betting in the state of New Jersey.  Much more pressure has been placed on the state to capitalize on the multi billion dollar industry now that neighboring Delaware has legalized sports betting

State Sen. Raymond J. Lesniak (D-Union) last week asked Gov. Jon S. Corzine to put his weight behind the campaign to lift a 1992 federal ban on sports wagering in most states.

Delaware's sports betting legislation was signed into law on May 14 by Gov. Jack Markell, who has been a major booster of the effort.

In the end, it could come down to pure politics.

A Washington Post report suggests that the Republicans are now eyeing New Jersey and have a legitimate shot of winning the Governor's race.  That's because Corzine's approval rates have plummeted in the wake of a deepening economic recession.  New Jersey has been hit especially hard, made worse by exorbitant property taxes.

From the Washington Post:

Much of New Jersey's Republican establishment has lined up behind Christopher Christie, a former U.S. attorney who built a reputation as a crusader against political corruption, putting 130 New Jersey politicians behind bars. Christie said he would bring that prosecutor's toughness to the state government with a plan to cut taxes, reduce regulation and trim the size of government. "There'll be a new sheriff in town when I come in January," he told factory workers at a recent event here.

"I think my background and my personality fit these times," Christie said later in an interview. "I don't really care about being popular. I care much more about being respected."

Recent polls show him defeating Corzine 45 percent to 38 percent in a hypothetical November matchup, and GOP leaders see him as the most electable Republican in a reliably Democratic state.

WFMZ's Jackie Shutack says that the very thing that got Corzine elected in the first place - his Wall Street experience - could be his ultimate downfall.

"It's the old adage - ‘it's the economy, stupid.' When he was elected in 2005, Corzine used his Wall Street reputation to build a fiscally responsible image, but given the current state of affairs, many speculate this could lead to his demise."

Legalized sports betting could help inject much needed cash into a starving state economy. 

So far this month, two major horse races - The Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes - have brought in millions of dollars to the betting industry.

Behind New Jersey's efforts to legalize online sports betting is the powerful industry trade group, The Interactive Media Entertainment & Gaming Association, which focuses more on legal court challenges as opposed to more difficult obstacle-laden political lobbying tactics.

iMEGA is joined in its suit against the US Government by the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, The Thoroughbred Breeders Association of New Jersey, the Standardbred Breeder & Owners Association of New Jersey and New Jersey State Senator Raymond Lesniak (D-Union).

The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1991 (PASPA) prohibits any state - except for Nevada, Delaware, Montana and Oregon - from permitting legal forms of sports wagering of any kind. The four states that had legal sports wagering at the time the law was passed were grandfathered in, and the other 46 states were given only one year in which to pass their own legislation or be forever barred from any attempt at offering a legal, regulated alternative to underground sports betting.

The suit filed against the federal government claims that PASPA violates five amendments to the U.S. Constitution by discriminating against the people of New Jersey and by regulating a matter that should be reserved to the states.

"It makes sense to take this huge underground national marketplace, estimated at more than $360 billion annually and bring it out into the light of day," said Joe Brennan Jr., chairman and CEO of iMEGA. "By offereing legal, regulated alternatives in sports wagering, the state can guard against criminal elements attempting to use their money to influence the outcome of games. We can protect the integrity of the games."

Christopher Costigan, Publisher 

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