New Jersey Governor Wants Sports Betting

This story was published more than 11 years ago.

New Jersey's bombastic Republican Governor Chris Christie issued a statement on Thursday announcing that people in the Garden State will be betting on sports by September.

Christie's statement comes on the heels of the state's lawmakers figuring out how it would challenge the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which has limited sports betting to four states.

"We intend to go forward." Christie said. "If someone wants to stop us, then let them try to stop us. We want to work with the casinos and horse racing industry to get it implemented."

"Am I expecting there may be legal action taken against us to try to prevent it? Yes. But I have every confidence we're going to be successful."

Earlier this year, lawmakers in New Jersey passed a sports betting bill, with Governor Christie signing it into law. The new law would allow casinos in Atlantic City and New Jersey horse tracks to take in sports bets.

Casino executives commented on Christie's statement, with generally favorable words.

"I love the idea of playing offense and having the federal government have to play defense against us," Tony Rodio, President of Tropicana Entertainment said. "But I don't know who's going to want to be the first to open knowing they can shut you down. We'd need a lot more clarity before we invested lots of money in a sports book."

Resorts Casino Hotel Vice President Aaron Gomes added: "It's going to be hard to find someone willing to take the first jump. Particularly for companies that do business in multiple jurisdictions, they might not want to jeopardize their licenses in other states."

State Senator Ray Lesniak is among the most confident that PASPA will be overturned.

"To those with a vested interest in the status quo - the professional sports organizations who take a hypocritical stance that wagering will 'ruin the purity of the game,' and the Nevada-based gaming conglomerates that have enjoyed that state's stranglehold on sports wagering for the last 20 years - I respectfully say, 'Bring it on,'" the Senator said.

"The sooner you make an issue of New Jersey's non-compliance with an unconstitutional federal ban, the sooner we can defeat that ban in the courts, and put New Jersey on the same competitive footing as the rest of the nation when it comes to sports wagering."