Corzine Will Continue to Fight NJ Sports Betting Ban

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Nov/06/2009

Undaunted by his electoral defeat, Gov. Jon S. Corzine will proceed with his plan to join a legal battle to bring sports betting to New Jersey, according to his office.

On Monday, a day before Corzine lost the election to Republican rival Chris Christie, a federal judge had allowed Corzine until Nov. 12 to file a complaint against a 17-year ban on sports wagering, overruling resistance from the federal Department of Justice.

"We'll continue to move forward and file the necessary court papers by the due date," said Robert Corrales, a spokesman in the governor's office. "It will be up to the incoming governor to decide if he would want to proceed." Christie's office did not respond to a request for comment.

Christie had "publicly indicated initial support" for allowing sports wagering in the state, recalled Joe Brennan Jr., chairman of the Washington, D.C.-based Interactive Media Entertainment & Gaming Association Inc., or iMega. Sports betting is permitted in Delaware, Montana, Nevada and Oregon.

Earlier this year, iMega, state Sen. Ray Lesniak (D-Union) and representatives of the horseracing industry had sued the federal government in a bid to reverse the ban on sports betting in New Jersey and 45 other states.

Brennan said the outcome of the governor's election on Corzine's ability to be party to the lawsuit does not dilute the merits of his case. "It is not necessarily the litigants as much as it is the law," he said.

State-regulated sports wagering will prove to be "a magnet" for varied business activity, including shopping and dining, Brennan said. "New Jersey could potentially become a hub for online gambling in the U.S.," he said, adding that sufficient demand for such recreational activity has so far been "off-shored."

The state's casino industry, too, has supported sports wagering, though it is adopting "a wait-and-see attitude" to see how the lawsuit challenging the ban progresses, Brennan said.

Brennan said San Jose, Costa Rica has become "the Silicon Valley of Central America" because it permits online gaming. Hundreds of online gaming companies and related activities like processing and network technology have created tens of thousands of jobs in San Jose, he said.

"They certainly can do that in New Jersey," Brennan said, adding that the state could tap into its "well-educated and technically trained work force, and access to the financial center of New York City."

Source:  NJ Biz

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