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Chris Christie Says He Supports Gambling, But Does He?

Written by:
Thomas Somach
Published on:
Sep/06/2011
Chris Christie

Gambling911.com has previously reported on the major Republican presidential candidates' records on gambling issues.

We revealed how Texas Governor Rick Perry, Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney would be no friend to the gambling industry should any of them be elected President of the United States, all of them having stymied or attempted to stymie the expansion of gambling during their respective political careers.

But those are all declared candidates for the presidency.

What about the undeclared/possible/potential Republican candidates?

The name most often mentioned is New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

He's repeatedly said he has no interest in running for president this year, but many voters have nevertheless urged him to get in to the race.

If none of the declared candidates catches fire, who knows what might happen?

In light of that possibility, Gambling911.com decided to examine Christie's record on gambling.

The verdict?

While he too is no great friend of the gambling industry--despite running a state where gambling mecca Atlantic City is located--he's not an enemy either, unlike the Perry-Bachmann-Romney troika.

Earlier this year, when the New Jersey legislature presented him with a bill to sign that would have legalized Internet gambling in the state, he vetoed the bill.

But in vetoing it, he said he wasn't opposed to legalizing Internet gambling.

He said he vetoed the bill because he believes that except for horse racing, the state constitution only permits gambling in Atlantic City, and the bill would have legalized it statewide.

If the legislature really wants statewide Internet gambling, Christie said, it should have the voters in the state vote on and approve a referendum that would do so.

According to the March 3, 2011, edition of the Wall Street Journal: "In the veto message, Christie said he had a number of significant concerns with the legislation. He rejected the theory that by placing servers in Atlantic City, the bill would satisfy constitutional requirements. 'In my view, the creation of a legal fiction deeming all wagers to have originated in Atlantic City cannot overcome the clear and unambiguous language of the state constitution,' he said."

The Journal article continued: "Voters approved Atlantic City gambling in 1976, two years after rejecting statewide gambling. Christie said he worried the bill would expand gambling 'in a manner that is contrary to the public’s sentiment' to gambling. 'If the Legislature believes that expanding gambling outside of Atlantic City is in the best interests of the State of New Jersey, it should place the question on the ballot for the voters to decide,' Christie said."

So much for online gambling in the Garden State.

What about offline gambling?

According to news reports, Christie earlier this year vetoed a move by the New Jersey Racing Commission to dole out $15 million in subsidies to prop up the state's economically ailing horse racing industry.

The industry had received a total of $176 million in subsidies over the previous seven years, but now, Christie said, it was time for the industry to become "self-sufficient."

The governor also opposed allowing the state's racetracks to increase revenues by adding slot machines, saying the move would hurt Atlantic City casinos, who now face competition from newly-legalized casinos in neighboring Pennsylvania.

In addition, since being elected, Christie has repeatedly said he does not support efforts to legalize sports wagering in the state.

So what's the bottom line when it comes to Christie and gambling issues?

It's a baffling and bizarre set of inconsistencies and contradictions, to say the least.

He denies being against online gambling, but still vetoes a bill that would legalize it.

He wants the horse racing industry to be self-sufficient, but won't let it add slots to make that possible.

And in denying the racetrack slot machines, he says he's doing it to help the A.C. casinos--but if he really wanted to help the casinos, he'd support legalized sports betting in them.

By Tom Somach

Gambling911.com Staff Writer

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