Christie asks ‘who cares’ about fantasy football betting (Answer: NJ legislators)
Chris Christie became incredulous during Wednesday night's GOP presidential debate on CNBC — though over an issue dear to some legislators back home in New Jersey.
Cco-moderator Carl Quintanilla asked candidates whether fantasy football websites should face regulation by the federal government.
Jeb Bush took the question at face value — saying he favors some sort of regulation, and prompting some laughs when he said his own fantasy football league is 7-0.
But Christie was having none of it: "Are we really talking about fantasy football?" he asked. "Wait a second, we have $19 trillion in debt, people out of work, ISIS and Al Qaeda attacking us and we're talking about fantasy football?"
And after a cheer from the audience: "Enough on fantasy football — let people play. Who cares?
Back in New Jersey, several legislators have made it known they care.
As reported earlier this month by New Jersey 101.5, NJ U.S. Senator Bob Menendez and Congressman Frank Pallone are calling on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate fantasy football betting websites like FanDuel and Draft Kings, and to enact tough new regulations to ensure they’re playing by the rules.
Pallone has argued the federal government should allow sports betting in New Jersey overall — but that at the same time, fantasy leagues should be regulated like gambling organizations to keep an even playing field. They've been allowed to slip through a loophole that doesn't treat the leagues like sports betting, he said.
"Maybe when we passed the referendum in New Jersey that allowed sports betting, maybe the governor made a mistake," Pallone said at the time. "Maybe he should have just gotten up and said ‘well actually what we’re doing now is fantasy betting.' He could have labeled the sports betting as fantasy betting and put on a giggle, and he could have said that was an exemption to the law, because I call it fantasy betting.”
In neighboring New York, the state's attorney general is looking into the sites as well.
It seems Christie cares about fantasy sports at least a little, judging by an email he sent possible donors last month and shared on Twitter by Michael Whitney, who according to his profile works at Revolution Messaging for Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders: