Poker Coverage:

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie Vetoes Sports Betting Bill

Gov. Christie Wants Sports Betting Bill To Comply With Federal Law


New Jersey Gov. Chris ChristieA bill that would have brought sports betting to New Jersey casinos and race tracks while simultaneously circumventing a federal law that prohibits it has been vetoed by Gov. Chris Christie.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Raymond Lesniak, among others, offered some hope to the struggling Atlantic City gambling market because it allowed the state to get around the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which has limited sports betting to grandfathered states Nevada, Delaware, Montana and Oregon.

Apparently, the bill would have allowed gambling facilities to decide for themselves whether to allow sports betting or not. The state couldn’t explicitly endorse sports betting, but it didn’t have to ban it either.

The Governor, however, disagreed. Although Christie wants sports betting in his state and is actively looking for ways to help his slumping casino economy, he doesn’t believe that going around federal law is the best way to do it.

“While I do not agree with the Circuit Court’s decision, I do believe that the rule of law is sacrosanct, binding on all Americans,” Christie wrote. “That duty adheres with special solemnity to those elected officials privileged to swear an oath to uphold the laws in our nation.”

By the end of the year, four of the state’s 12 casinos could be closed. Online gambling has brought in upwards of $10 million each month, but that’s a drop in the bucket compared to Atlantic City’s ongoing economic woes.

Although it appears the state is running out of options to revive Atlantic City, Lesniak still believes that positive changes can be made.

“He’s giving up and that’s sad,” said Lesniak. “Because he’s giving up a great opportunity for New Jersey to have the benefits from sports betting that Las Vegas has, and that are currently enjoyed by organized crime. Either we’re going to have to try and override him or wait until we get another governor.”

There are some political pundits who believe that Christie’s recent decisions are part of a calculated plan to position him for a run at the 2016 presidential election.