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Chris Christie upset with decision on sports betting in New Jersey

March 01, 2013|By Houston Mitchell
  • New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (Kathy Johnson / Associated…)

If you want to bet on the Super Bowl or the World Series or the Indianapolis 500, don't go to New Jersey.

On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp upheld a law prohibiting sports betting in all but four states, dealing a setback to New Jersey's attempts to revive its struggling casino industry by allowing gambling on sports. The ruling drew an unhappy reaction from Gov. Chris Christie.

“We believe firmly in the principles of our position on sports betting and that the federal ban is inequitable, violates New Jersey's rights as a state and is unconstitutional,” Christie said in a statement. “Even the trial judge has noted that he was not likely the final arbiter in the matter. We are confident that the federal court of appeals will conclude that New Jersey should be treated equally with other states.”

State Sen. Ray Lesniak, the prime sponsor of the sports-betting bill, said New Jersey would appeal.

“This is a huge disappointment for all of us who continue to believe that New Jersey should have the right to allow sports betting,” Lesniak said. “Along with online gaming, sports betting would allow New Jersey to be in the forefront of the modern gaming industry, creating jobs and providing both immediate and long-term economic benefits.”

New Jersey voters passed a sports-betting ballot measure in 2011, in which bets wouldn't be taken on games involving New Jersey colleges or college games played in the state. Christie said at the time that he hoped to grant sports-betting licenses by early this year, but those plans have been put on hold.

Nevada, Montana, Delaware and Oregon are the only four states that currently allow betting on sports.


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