NJ Governor Puts A Halt To Sports-betting Bill

NJ Governor Puts A Halt To Sports-betting BillNew Jersey’s ongoing efforts to add sports betting to its gambling mix seem to have reached its inevitable conclusion after Governor Chris Christie decided to veto two bills which only recently had passed in both the state Senate and Assembly. Not satisfied with the US Supreme Court’s refusal in June to hear the state’s sports wagering argument, Sen. Raymond Lesniak had introduced bills S2250 and A3476 in an attempt to circumvent the ‘Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act‘ of 1992 and allow private operators to offer sports betting at New Jersey race tracks and casinos.
At the time Governor Christie did not seem to support Lesniak’s stance, having stated at the time the Supreme Court decision was announced; “That’s the way it goes. They said no, so we have to move on.”
Nevertheless, Christie’s decision to veto the bills still came as a surprise to Lesniak, who said the veto was “a dagger in the heart of Atlantic City and our ailing horse racing industry.”
Ironically, in 1992 New Jersey was given the opportunity to join Nevada, Delaware, Oregon and Montana in being the country’s only sports betting markets, but failed to take up the offer in time. In 2012, Gov. Christie then attempted to introduce his own sports wagering bill, but resistance from sports leagues such as the NBA, NFL, and NHL was enough to convince the Supreme Court to block the move. That could be a contributing factor to Christie’s reluctance to go down the same route and explaining his decision to veto bill S-2250/A-3476, said:
“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. That duty adheres with special solemnity to those elected officials privileged to swear and oath to uphold the laws in our nation.. [ignoring federal law is] counter to our democratic traditions and inconsistent with the Constitutional values I have sworn to defend and protect.”
While the game now seems up for Lesniak’s sports betting drive, the State Senator said he would still try to override the veto if he is able to garner enough Republican support. In the meantime, Christie’s announcement was more bad news for New Jersey’s ailing gambling industry, as sports betting was forecast to add an extra $100 million in annual revenues to its gambling market.

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