New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Monday that he’s all in on allowing states to approve sports gambling, which could bring generate hundreds of millions of dollars in new revenue for his state.
Sitting in as a special co-host on the “Boomer and Carton in the Morning” show in New York, Mr. Christie said that it is “ridiculous” that New Jersey cannot legalize gambling on sporting events and that his administration is waging a court battle that he predicts eventually will be decided by the Supreme Court.
“I think New Jersey is going to be victorious ultimately,” the Republican governor said on the sports talk radio program. “There is no reason why Las Vegas, the state of Nevada, should have a monopoly on sports gambling.”
New Jersey voters cleared the way for sports gambling in 2011 when they easily passed a referendum on the issue. The Legislature then enacted a law that allowed some bets at Atlantic City casinos and the state’s horse racing tracks.
The National Football League, National Basketball Association, National Hockey League and Major League Baseball, as well as the NCAA, challenged the law in court and warned that legalized gambling would undermine the integrity of their sports.
A federal judge sided with the leagues in March, ruling that Congress has the power to regulate an interstate industry such as sports gambling and to treat states differently. A 1992 federal law limiting sports betting to Nevada and three other states. The state has appealed the ruling.
Mr. Christie is running for re-election in New Jersey and is thought to be laying the groundwork for a presidential run in 2016.
Mr. Christie said that the leagues “have Congress” and that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, wants to keep sports betting “exclusive in Nevada.”
Mr. Christie said states should decide whether to legalize and regulate sports gambling — much as they do with casino gambling — and said that until they do, there will be a thriving black market.
“That is the folly of the leagues’ argument — that somehow if you legalize it, take it out of the hands of criminals, that somehow you are destabilizing the leagues. I mean, only the commissions of these leagues and the NCAA can make that argument with a straight face,” Mr. Christie said.